Bee invasion delay forces Diamondbacks to scratch Jordan Montgomery vs. Dodgers

The bee specialist who saved the day is now getting his own custom trading card

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 30: Detail of a bee colony formed on the netting behind home plate causing a start delay for the MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on April 30, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
BEES?! (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field had a few too many visitors for their game Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The NL West matchup was delayed by nearly two hours after it was noticed that a swarm of bees had congregated on part of the netting behind home plate. Previously scheduled for a 6:40 p.m. start, first pitch didn't arrive until 8:35 p.m.

The time in between was mostly spent waiting for a beekeeper to report for the highest-profile beekeeper duty possible. The Chase Field stadium operations crew requested the crowd to "please bee patient" and later played "Let It Be."

The Diamondbacks, of course, released a statement explaining the situation:

"The scheduled game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers has been temporarily delayed due to the presence of a beehive in the netting directly behind home plate at Chase Field. We anticipate that the game will resume promptly following the successful removal of the beehive by a professional beekeeper. Updates will be provided as soon as they become available."

Eventually, the beekeeper arrived, donned full beekeeper regalia, rose to the hive via a scissor lift, sprayed the bees with something and vacuumed them up as "Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd and "Holding Out for a Hero" played in the background.

We can only wonder how this person, who received a "Thank you Bee Guy" message on the big screen, was expecting to spend his night before he got The Call.

The bee removal man, a.k.a. Matt Hilton of Blue Sky Pest Control, was then asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He received a standing ovation.

Hilton later spoke to reporters and said he was at his son's tee-ball game when he got the call from the D-Backs, whose vice president of ballpark operations said the game was "very close" to getting called. Importantly, Hilton said the bees were not killed.

On Wednesday, after his heroic performance, Hilton struck a deal for his own custom trading card.

The Diamondbacks ended up suffering more due to their unwelcome visitors, as starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery had to be scratched after waiting too long to pitch. He was reportedly warmed up and ready to go until someone noticed the bees.

The development left Arizona to start reliever Brandon Hughes in a bullpen game, but it ended in triumph for the home team as Christian Walker slugged a walk-off 2-run homer in the 10th for a 4-3 win.

It was a bizarre and hilarious situation, but not unprecedented. Just last month, a match at the Indian Wells tennis tournament was delayed due to a bee swarm. Baseball games too have felt the sting, including a 2016 game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels and another Diamondbacks game against the San Francisco Giants in 2014.

All of those incidents saw bees invade midway through the festivities, though. In Tuesday's case, it might be worth questioning how an enormous swarm of bees manages to form before a game at a stadium with a roof that closes.