Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Mariners' James Paxton, eagle landing perch, was just 'trying not to panic'

LOOK: A bald eagle mauls James Paxton in the outfield during the national anthem Eagle lands on Mariners pitcher during anthem
Sergio Cook | 07 April, 2018, 00:55

While likely a random landing, the bald eagle's choice has us wondering a motive as Paxton is Canadian.

Paxton did anything but panic, not flinching as the eagle made a first pass at him.

As it turned out, yesterday's game time 38 degree temperature was only the second coldest opening day at Target Field. Then the eagle, named Challenger, landed in the grass before circling back to find a perch on Paxton's right shoulder.

Nicknamed the Big Maple, Paxton proved he was the flawless landing spot for this eagle. When it first started flying toward my face, I ducked it. "I was like, 'The guy (handler) is over there, I'm not the eagle guy.' I guess the eagle got confused. I was just standing there trying not to panic".

"I think it's a sign of how strong the wind was tonight, or that maybe I need to get in the weight room more", Dozier joked. "The talons, they were kind of sharp on my back, but I don't have any scratches I believe". He said he did feel a "sharp pain", but there were no scratches.

The Twins gave up a couple in the first half of the first inning, and, as Paxton prepares to take the mound, trail 2-0, with a commanding 1-0 lead on bird of prey attacks.

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