Bees spell delays in Angels’ spring training game

Matt Shoemaker didn’t think much of the bee or two that buzzed his cap while he warmed up for Sunday’s Cactus League game against the Kansas City Royals in Tempe Diablo Stadium.

“But when you see thousands of them,” the Angels right-hander said, “it’s time to get out of the way.”

A massive swarm of bees sent players running for cover, and fans in a section near the first base dugout made a bee-line for the concourse just before first pitch, delaying the game for 10 minutes.

The bees settled on a television microphone attached to the screen behind home plate, remaining there until a beekeeper — Will Godwin from Citywide Pest Control in Phoenix — removed them in the middle of the fourth inning, causing another 10-minute delay.

“I’m not sure what was on that microphone — honey, maybe?” Shoemaker said. “There were a ton of bees. It’s definitely abnormal. You just roll with it. You get your warmup in, wait 10 minutes, then you warm up again.”


Bee swarms are common in Arizona in March, and the Angels even had two regular-season games in Anaheim delayed by bees in 2013. But Manager Mike Scioscia had never seen bees create the kind of buzz they did Sunday.

“We’ve never had them migrating, but like a tornado, they landed on the microphone,” Scioscia said. “Fortunately, they stayed there until we could get rid of them.”

Royals Manager Ned Yost, who lives in Georgia, was not happy to see the bees sprayed with pesticides.

“I’ve never seen mass bee genocide like that,” Yost told the Kansas City Star. “All you have to do is get some smoke. ... Trust me, I live in the country. You take some smoke out there because the queen is in there somewhere, you get a Shop-Vac and suck them all in and take them out to the parking lot and let them go.

“They’re just honey bees, man. There’s a decline in honey bees. We need them. It was sad to see, but they had to do what they had to do.”

First impression

Scioscia got his first in-game look at 2014 first-round pick Sean Newcomb and liked what he saw. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound left-hander, who signed for $2.518 million out of the University of Hartford (Conn.), gave up an infield single and struck out one in a scoreless inning.

“You can see that explosive fastball, and he showed a really good breaking ball,” Scioscia said. “He looked really strong. His stuff would play in the big leagues right now, but there’s a progression he needs to go through.”

Newcomb, who has drawn comparisons to Jon Lester for his physique and smooth delivery, is expected to open the season at Class-A Inland Empire. He will be among the first wave of players sent to minor league camp so he can be stretched out as a starter, but will soak up as much of his first big league camp as he can.

“I’m paying attention to what the veterans do, what their routines are, how they work, what they do to take care of their bodies,” said Newcomb, the 15th overall pick in June. “It’s my first full season, so a huge focus is staying healthy throughout, getting all my innings in and making every start.”