Bees delay ballgame until PMP suits up

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May 2, 2024

A pest management professional was a big hit at the April 30 Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, even though he was not wielding a bat.

Matt Hilton, branch manager of Blue Sky Pest Control in Phoenix, Ariz., was summoned to Chase Field because bees began to form a colony on the netting behind home plate just as the game was about to get underway.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) teams were prepared to play, having wrapped up the national anthem, but put the game on pause as more and more bees flew to the field. MLB officials determined the bee colony had to be removed to ensure the safety of the players and fans.

The Diamondbacks’ VP of baseball operations, Mike Rock, tracked down nearby Blue Sky Pest Control. Hilton, however, was with his family 45 minutes away from the ballpark, according to USA Today.

More than 28,500 fans had been kept waiting nearly two hours until the bee-suit clad Hilton arrived. Any longer and the game would have been postponed and played as a doubleheader the following day, on the teams’ mutual day off, or later in the baseball season, USA Today reported.

When Hilton — who was misidentified as a “beekeeper” in most media reports — arrived, he put on his bee suit, climbed into a hydraulic lift, and collected the bees. Not only did he receive a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd, the Diamondbacks asked Hilton to throw out the first pitch.

What was his walk-up song? Bonnie Tyler’s Top 40 hit “Holding Out for a Hero.”

On May 1, baseball card giant Topps posted the availabilty of a limited-edition Matt Hilton trading card with him on front, and the bees on the back.

It’s not the first time a pest management professional threw out a first pitch. On May 9, 2014, Jeff Jones, VP of Admiral Pest Control in Bellflower, Calif., had the honor at a Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants baseball game. Pest Management Professional featured the now-retired Jones on the cover of its October 2014 issue.

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About the Author

Headshot: Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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