The Arizona Diamondbacks and birds simply do not mix.
History didn't repeat, but it at least rhymed Wednesday when Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen struck a bird while warming up before a road game against the Oakland Athletics. Sadly, the bird did not survive, per Bally Sports Arizona.
You can see the video here:
Zac Gallen really hit a bird with a curveball. pic.twitter.com/T6XOZudoMH
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) May 17, 2023
Nearly any baseball fan will be able to tell you about the last bird incident involving the Diamondbacks, as Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson struck and killed a dove with a fastball at a spring training game in 2001.
Randy Johnson's dove incident holds infamous place in MLB history
There are some key differences between the stories, even if the broad strokes of two top Diamondbacks pitchers killing birds in midair already make for a wild coincidence. Johnson's incident was in spring training, and Gallen's was before a regular-season game. Johnson was actually on the mound, while Gallen was throwing on flat ground. Johnson's pitch resulted in an explosion of feathers; Gallen's pitch was merely redirected as the bird was knocked to the ground.
The good news for Arizona is that Johnson's incident was hardly a bad omen, even if the southpaw was reportedly bothered by the reaction at the time, saying, "I didn't think it was all that funny," per ESPN. Johnson won a third straight Cy Young and his first World Series ring that year.
Johnson's stance on the bird has clearly since softened, considering that he made it the logo of his photography business.
Gallen entered the game with a strong season of his own, holding a 2.35 ERA, a 6-1 record, an NL-best 0.855 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings across nine starts.