Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen's pre-game warmup routine took a bizarre turn on Wednesday, as he hit a passing bird while throwing a curveball during warmups for a road game against the Oakland Athletics. The bird did not survive.
The unusual incident - and unfortunate one for lovers of ornithology -- was strangely familiar to the Diamondbacks, as it immediately invoked memories of one of the team's -- and MLB's -- most bizarre pitching highlights. During a spring training game in 2001, Diamondbacks Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson famously hit a bird while on the mound, obliterating the bird in an explosion of feathers.
The incident with Gallen's bird was much less dramatic, as the bird would only fall to the ground as his pitch was redirected.
The incident with Gallen was the latest in a select few examples of the ballpark being a perilous place for birds. In 1985, for instance, New York Yankees star Dave Winfield hit and killed a seagull while warming up in the middle of the fifth inning.
Gallen enters Wednesday's game having had a strong season so far, with a 2.35 ERA, 6-1 record, 0.855 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings across nine starts.Gallen's WHIP mark is currently the best in the National League.