Bald Eagle comes in for landing on Mariners pitcher's shoulders during national anthem
James Paxton hasn’t yet won a game for the Mariners this season. But on Thursday, the pitcher notched the most important victory of all: winning the approval of the internet.
Before the afternoon matchup with the Minnesota Twins, Paxton was warming up in left field, according to USA Today. The pregame ceremony included a bald eagle flight through Minneapolis’ Target Field.
The eagle had other ideas once it was released during the national anthem.
As Paxton stood on the grass, cap in his hand and over his heart, the eagle skirted dangerously close to his elbow before landing on the grass. The eagle was not done, however. It flew onto Paxton and perched on his shoulder.
The icing on cake is that Paxton, 29, is Canadian.
The starting pitcher did not panic and resumed his throwing program after the incident; he was even able to laugh about it.
"I guess the eagle knew I was Canadian. I don't know. But it came for me," Paxton said, according to CBS News. “Figured I'm not going to outrun an eagle ... So might as well see what happens."
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton said he wouldn’t have handled things as calmly as Paxton did.
"When I saw (the bald eagle) like perk up on Paxton's arm, I'm gone,'' Buxton said, according to USA Today. "He wouldn't have a chance to get on my shoulder.''
The internet couldn’t get enough of the footage.
The Twins defeated the Mariners 4-2.