James Paxton, the Mariners pitcher, decided to let the bird try to land on him instead of running away from the eagle

By Kelli Bender
April 06, 2018 01:16 PM

Major League Baseball is back in full swing, and everyone is excited — even the birds.

According to TIME, Thursday’s home opener for the Minnesota Twins against the Seattle Mariners started off with a surprise for Mariners pitcher James Paxton, and we aren’t talking about the first pitch.

Paxton was standing on the field, hand on his heart, listen to the end of the National Anthem before the game, when the eagle released during “The Star-Spangled Banner” decided to introduce himself to the pitcher.

The bird, possibly confusing Paxton for his handler, flew over to the player and attempted to land on the Mariner’s shoulder.

“It was coming right for me and I was like, ‘Alright, the guy is over there. And I’m not the eagle guy,'” Paxton said in a postgame MLB interview. “But I guess this eagle was just confused — apparently the first time ever. I was just standing there trying not to panic.”

Many are applauding the pitcher for keeping his cool, even with an eagle flying towards his face.

“I don’t know how he handled that. I would’ve been freaking out. How he stood there with the eagle on his shoulder was impressive. I don’t know how cool he thought the moment was, but that was a pretty cool moment,” Kyle Gibson, the starting pitcher for the Twins on Thursday, told MLB.com

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In the same postgame interview, Paxton said he stayed put and let bird try to land on him because he figured he couldn’t out run the eagle.

Unfortunately, this touch from America’s top bird didn’t bring the Mariners any extra luck. The Seattle team lost the Twins home opener 4-2.