Animals Interrupting Sporting Events
People come out by the thousands, sometimes the tens of thousands, to watch a sporting event live. Of course, humans aren’t the only ones attracted to stadiums, golf courses and tennis courts.
Most outdoor sports require a fairly large open playing space, which are known to attract animals. Plus, where there are humans, there is food. And where there is food, there are usually animals.
Whatever their reasons—maybe they’re looking for an easy meal or maybe they just really like attention—animals interrupting sporting events is a pretty common occurrence.
Thanks to the magic of the digital age, most of these troublemakers are caught on camera and end up on the internet, where they find fleeting fame.
So let's take a look at a few awesome animals interrupting sporting events.
Extremely Self-Satisfied Pooch Crashes British Open Broadcast
Golfer Rory McIlroy may have won the 2014 British Open, but this dapper fellow stole the attention of ESPN's Peter Alliss joined Scott Van Pelt when the stocky pup emerged from the seaside brush.
Clearly satisfied with the day's events thus far, Alliss made the most timely remark ever, "Where the hell have you been?"
Bird Makes Cameo at British Open, Chooses Not to Fly
We've all been there; that moment when you realize that you've just walked into the wrong class or the middle of a heated argument.
Once the awkwardness sinks in, you know that the only place you want to be in the world is not...here.
Well, at the 2014 British Open, Rory McIlroy's putt was delayed by a bird that experienced just such an episode—and like us humans, the fleeting discombobulation made it forget how to do something that's second nature.
But, instead of pulling on a door that needs to be pushed open, this interloper forgot it could exit vertically.
Squirrel Bounds Around Ballpark, Pace Belies Blank Expression
The Eastern gray squirrel is no stranger to captive sporting-event audiences; and only one thing is certain when a squirrel finds itself "cornered" on the immaculately kept turf of an MLB ballpark...expect the uncertain.
Despite those cold, dead eyes, squirrel-panic is easily observed by the cautious prancing that quickly devolves into frantic galloping.
At this Philadelphia Phillies-Colorado Rockies game in April, the game may go on, but this squirrel—who's clearly on the verge of an old-fashioned freak-out—is stealing the show.
Bear Shrugs, as Do Onlookers
Alaska seems like the kind of place where very large animals just tip their hat to passers-by on the way to the remote post office (when the passers-by aren't trying to shoot them). And just to be clear, the people are going to the post office in that scenario, not the animals.
So, when a a big ol' black bear went on a leisurely trek around an American Legion baseball game in Juneau, Alaska, in June 2014, rather than the players and their fans dispersing in a chaotic panic, they just gazed without urgency. The bear responded in-kind with his or her own lack of urgency before wandering off in search of trash cans to overturn.
Moose Get Too Close for Comfort
[Note: Interrupting moose are not pictured]
Unfortunately, there’s no video or photographic evidence of this one (pics or it didn’t happen!), but it sounds like a wild enough scene to be worth mentioning. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, two curious moose interrupted a little league baseball game back in June 2001.
The animals were spotted roaming near the field, and the game had to be stopped after the fourth inning because they were attempting to make their way onto the field. Although it doesn't seem they were aggressive, separating kids from wild animals is always a good idea.
Three-Legged Alligator Just Wants to Be Noticed
Golf courses attract their fair share of wildlife, despite being doused in pesticides and constantly monitored and manicured by humans. Water hazards, particularly those in the Deep South, are often home to any number of strangely chill alligators.
In April 2013, one such alligator, a three-legged bugger that goes by the name Stumpy, interrupted the PGA’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans. A nonchalant Stumpy wandered around hilariously and mugged for the camera, while the players just kept right on playing.
Credit to them for staying focused! Stumpy may only have three legs, but he’s still a frickin frackin alligator. A quick search on YouTube reveals this is a relatively common occurrence.
Pigeon Problems at Wimbledon
Pigeons became enough of a problem at Wimbledon that groundskeepers decided to take pretty serious measures to prevent them from menacing players during one of tennis’ preeminent events. A falconer with a hawk named Rufus are employed to keep order on the grass courts.
Although Rufus does his best, it seems the pigeon problem isn’t entirely solved. Last month at Wimbledon, a pigeon actually dive-bombed Roberto Bautista Agut mid-serve during a match against Andy Murray. It was among the many things that didn’t go well for Agut that day.
Pigeon Problems Everywhere Else
Pigeons aren’t just an issue at Wimbledon. These rogue urban menaces often brazenly land on the field in stadiums during baseball and football games. It’s actually a recurring event during Raiders games in Oakland.
Most recently (recent as in just days ago), a TexasRangers-Toronto Blue Jays game was interrupted when pigeons somehow managed to storm the field in Toronto, even though the roof was closed.
According to USA Today’s Nick Schwartz, the pigeons strutted across the field and elicited some of the biggest cheers of the night. When a few Rangers players attempted to scare them away, their efforts were met with a barrage of boos from the crowd.
A Very Cranky Cat Takes Issue with Attempted Ejection
An adventurous cat invaded the field at a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game in July 2010, and she was not very receptive to efforts aimed at removing her.
Initially, it seems like the cat may be friendly, but right around the 35-second mark, it does that insane back-arch thing that only really angry cats do. That explains why the player immediately backs off any attempts to wrangle it.
Eventually, the cat is nabbed by a very brave groundskeeper, who exits through a gate in the outfield. I imagine he released the cat out there and was promptly attacked by her and a bunch of her alley-cat friends.
Pine Martin Steals the Show at Soccer Match
In March 2013, a pine marten stormed the pitch in the most dramatic of manners at a Swiss Super League match. Maybe he wanted to get in on the game, or maybe he was just like any other drunk fan looking for his moment in the spotlight.
Either way…Zurich defender Loris Benito probably shouldn't have intervened. It can be tempting to stand up and attempt to be the man when all the men around you are scurrying away like little babies. He caught the weasel, but he also withstood a pretty serious bite.
He Has ALL the Softball Gloves
Few animals get away with malfeasance, much less get celebrated for it, like our canine companions. Dogs are designed to facilitate mayhem and get luvins (What? It's a word) in return.
And few dogs embody this idea more exquisitely than this softball-glove-snatching vagabond. In May 2014 this lovable mutt ran out onto the field during a softball game between Western Oregon and Simon Fraser (B.C.) and tried to make off with some mitts before getting ejected.
Bees Terrorize Baseball Stadiums
Of all the potential animals to interrupt a sporting even, a swarm of bees has to be the least “aww” inducing, and considering people with serious allergies, they are probably the most dangerous. For some reason bees seem particularly attracted to baseball games—must be all that popcorn and Cracker Jacks.
Although they are regular visitors at some stadiums such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, they’ve made very dramatic scenes at (at least) two games in the last year. In September 2013 bees caused a 23-minute delay during an Los Angeles Angels-Seattle Mariners game in Anaheim. This past April a massive swarm of bees interrupted a spring training Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game.
Fleeing Fox at a Football Game
When a dog runs out onto the field during a game, oftentimes athletes seem more interested in petting it than removing it. The same cannot be said about foxes, which may look adorable like dogs, but they behave more like spooked cats and are known for carrying rabies.
In September 2013 a fox somehow made its way to the sidelines during a football game between TCU and Texas Tech. In the video you’ll notice that not a single player on that sideline makes a move in the direction of the fox, preferring to ignore it and hope it goes away.
The Most Adorable 'Streakers' Ever
During a 2013 match between Turkey's Galatasaray and Germany's VfR Aalen, two pants-less ne'er do wells brought the action to a sudden halt when they crashed the pitch to throw a very special party—a labrador puppy party.
And there's no party like a labrador puppy party, because a labrador puppy party is mandatory—whether dancing around surly footballers with towel-in-mouth or being carried off the pitch like overgrown babies.
Australia's Kangaroo Course
What's it take to make an LPGA tournament—or any golf tournament for that matter—exciting and worth watching? How about a massive marsupial invasion on the fairway, holding everything up while they just screw around!
That's what happened at the Australian Open in February 2013. Well over a dozen kangaroos randomly hopped onto the course, interrupting players around the ninth hole.
The kangaroos caused a short delay, but they were much friendlier than the Black Widow spider, which invaded the tournament and bit a golfer earlier in the week.