Beekeeper ends the Dodgers-Diamondbacks delay and throws the first pitch

PHOENIX — This would have been the first standing ovation for beekeepers in history.

Surely there has never been a beekeeper basking in the limelight waving to the crowd while speakers addressed the crowd saying, “I need a champion.”

After a delay of 1 hour and 55 minutes Tuesday night due to a bee colony that formed over the protective mesh above home plate, Los Angeles Dodgers And Arizona Diamondbacks I played baseball Which lasted 10 innings.

Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker, who became an avid bee student after purchasing a farm, pitched his first career walk-off with a two-run homer in Arizona's 4-3 win at Chase Field.

“Beekeeping is on my bucket list, so I've honestly been watching a ton of YouTube videos about it,” said Walker, a two-time participant in the game.

“Obviously it was great to watch him do that, get those bees out of there.”

While Walker will be listed in the box as the hero of the game, teams will be told that the real hero is beekeeper, Matt Helton, branch manager of Blue Sky Pest Control's Phoenix office, who He threw the ceremonial first pitch.

The entire pregame scene was surreal, with the national anthem already played, players getting ready to play, and a colony of bees forming faster than Diamondbacks' Jordan Montgomery's warm-up pitches.

“I got a call about five minutes before game time from our events director,” said Mike Rock, the D-backs' vice president of baseball operations. “She doesn't usually call me at that time, and I knew something was weird. We had bees landing on the net, right over home plate,” she said.

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Rock asked: How many are there?

“Hundreds. No, wait, thousands,” said senior manager Kat McDonald.

Rock: “I knew we had a problem.”

Rock immediately alerted the umpiring staff, who informed D-backs manager Torrey Lovullo and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of the problem. There was serious safety concern, for fear of players and fans being stung, with MLB officials saying the game could not begin until the bee colony was removed.

The public address announcer asked fans, “Please bee Patient,” and then began playing The Beatles’ “Let It Be” to the delight of the audience.

The players from each team stood in front of the dugouts, amused at first, then retreated to the clubhouse, wondering if the match would be played.

The problem is that no one was immediately available.

Rock called Hilton, who had worked for the company for 15 years, but was attending his 6-year-old son's T-ball game in Surprise, Ariz., 45 minutes away.

Rock then contacted the competing company. They were further away in Buckeye, Arizona.

Rock pleaded with Hilton to come as quickly as possible. Helton apologized to his family, jumped into his truck and sped to Chase Field where a golf cart was waiting for him.

“It was the longest 45 minutes of my life,” Rock said.

Hilton donned his beekeeping suit, climbed to the top of the net using a hydraulic scissor lift, and vacuumed the colony, earning a standing ovation when it was completed, raising his hands in the air to encourage more cheers.

“I thought I was going to do what I had to do and go cruise, but it turned out fine,” Helton said.

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Before he knew it, he was asked to throw the first pitch, and suddenly he was a hero, his face splattered on the television sets and the scoreboard.

“It was a little nerve-racking, I'm not going to lie,” Hilton said. “There's a lot of pressure to start this game, you know, but I was happy to come in and take care of it.”

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks play their final game of the series WednesdayAnd with the wind expected to blow, no one will be surprised if they decide to play this game with the roof closed.

“I think we'll probably put the scissors up there just to be sure,” Rock said. “We will ask Blue Sky what is the best thing to do to make sure they don't come back to the same place. They are here every day at 6am, so we will have some of the top people here in Sabah.”

The game finally started at 11:35 PM ET. The Diamondbacks scratched Montgomery, who had already warmed up, and were replaced by left-handed reliever Brandon Hughes, who was making his first career start.

But, at least there was a baseball game, where Matt Helton became America's most famous beekeeper.

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