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Swarm of bees delays Dodgers-Diamondbacks game for 2 hours in Arizona

The start of Tuesday night's game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks was delayed nearly two hours after a bee colony swarmed the top of the protective netting directly behind home plate.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts met with the umpires shortly after the delay began and the public address announcer told the crowd about the delay.

The D-Backs said the game would begin "promptly following the successful removal of the beehive by a professional beekeeper."

A grounds crew member wheeled out a scissor lift after about 20 minutes, then waited for a beekeeper to arrive as fans in the sections behind home plate were cleared out for safety.

Matt Hilton, branch manager of Blue Sky Pest Control's Phoenix office, arrived about 70 minutes after the scheduled first pitch and pumped up the already-cheering crowd as he rode in on a cart from right field. Hilton — who had been at his son's tee ball game when he got the emergency call — suited up then rose up toward the swarm, causing more cheers.

Dodgers Diamondbacks Baseball
Bee keeper Matt Hilton prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in Phoenix.  Matt York / AP

With another quick wave to pump up the crowd, he stunned the bees with spray and started sucking them up with a shop vac as Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero" blared through the loud speakers.

Hilton hit the last few stranglers with more spray before lowering back onto the field, pumping his fist as the crowd cheered again.

The delay lasted nearly 90 minutes and the players were given 30 minutes to loosen back up before the first pitch was thrown. The Diamondbacks switched starting pitchers after the delay, from Jordan Montgomery to Brandon Hughes.

First pitch was scheduled for 6:40 p.m. local time and the game finally began at 8:35 p.m.

Hilton got an added bonus while making a stadium call: The Diamondbacks had him throw out the first pitch.

Of course, he wore his beekeeper suit for the toss.

"I thought I was here to just take care of a bee problem, but people were pretty hyped up," Hilton told the Los Angeles Times. "Pretty cool."

The bees were not killed, according to CBS Sports. They were treated with a non-pesticidal solution and will be released off-site.

Bee swarms are common during the spring in Arizona and have caused numerous spring training delays through the years. A bee swarm also caused a lengthy delay in a match between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, last month.

Chase Field has a retractable roof, but it was open for Tuesday's game.

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