Nats practice interrupted by fish falling from the sky

February 14, 2013

During Nats spring training in Viera on Thursday, a large bird, assumed to be an osprey, flew low over the field with something in its talons. As it crossed shallow center, it dropped what it was carrying right onto the field.

“As it closer we could tell it was a fish, or some type of animal from the water,” said Denard Span, who was startled by the bird. “And then he dropped it. And that’s when everyone huddled around the fish and started looking up and it was entertaining. Entertaining for Viera.”

The bird then began to circle the field, perhaps considering going back for his lost dinner. Span said he started screaming and making noises to discourage the bird from returning for his food.

“That’s another reason why I was kind of squealing a little bit,” he explained to The Post’s Brad Horn. “I kept thinking, that’s his dinner. That’s his food. As I was looking down at the fish, I didn’t want him to think that I was trying to take his dinner and have the bird come from behind me or come from the sky and try to attack me. I kept my head on a swivel and made sure the bird didn’t catch me slipping.”

Ian Desmond took one for the team and heaved the fish over the fence.

“I’ve never seen that on a baseball field,” Span said. “I’ve seen it on T.V., you know, bird carrying their dinner. I’ll tell you what, that bird definitely didn’t have good hands. He dropped his dinner.”

As far as Span is concerned, seeing it once was enough.

“I’m from Florida, but I’ve been fishing maybe twice in my life, he said. “I’m scared of fish, scared of birds. The only thing I’m not scared of is probably, like, an ant or something like that. I don’t know what it is. I don’t like to get my hands dirty, other than clay and dirt.”

The Nats team blog talked to Desmond, who is slightly more of an outdoorsman than Span, about his role in the event.

“It was a pretty big fish,” he told the blog. “I think it was a crappie.

“I’ve been fishing my whole life,” he added. “I’ve grabbed plenty of fish before.”

As far as we know no one has the incident on video, which is really the most unfortunate part of all this. Perhaps we can do a dramatic recreation.

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Dan Steinberg · February 14, 2013

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