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Monday, March 5, 2012
The bees are back! How can MLB fight the swarm?


Baseball has survived many attacks through the decades: the Black Sox scandal, steroids, pirated Blu-ray copies of "The Baseball Bunch."

Add to that list: bees.

Sunday's record crowd of 12,568 humans who saw the 11-1 victory of a San Fransisco split-squad over Arizona at Salt River Field in Scottsdale, Ariz., endured a 41-minute delay as a swarm invaded the outfield then settled into a camera well next to the Giants' dugout.

Bees
"Buster Posey, you healthy yet? Get in there and keep them bees!"

The grounds crew went into MacGyver mode and slathered utility carts with cotton candy and lemonade to lure the bees away. Maybe next time we won't be so lucky.

Let's use this as a teaching moment to draft protocols for the next Bees vs. Baseball confrontation.

But remember, our motivation is safety, not fear. Beekeeping and baseball probably have far more commonalities than differences. Take any Yogi Berra quote about baseball, substitute the word "beekeeping," and it's still true. For example:

"Beekeeping is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical."

• Every baseball game has a handful of people halfway dressed in beekeeping gear: the catchers. With masked helmets, chest protectors and over-sized mitts, catchers should be in the mindset that they've got everything needed to be a first line of defense.

• Make it mandatory that all instant replay officials are (fancy term alert) trained apiarists. With all those camera angles, they'll be able to see the tell-tale signs of an approaching swarm.

• The prize in every box of Cracker Jack sold at stadiums now will be a spray can of bee repellent.

• Bees can reach speeds of up to 20 mph. Little league coaches, your drills in teaching youngsters to run out every hit can now include, "Pretend bees are chasing you, Billy. Run, Billy! Bees!"