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Mariners' James Paxton, eagle landing perch, was just 'trying not to panic'

07 April 2018

You could say that Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton is, well, "unflappable".

- A bald eagle that was brought out to fly for the national anthem at the Minnesota Twins home opener Thursday wanted to get in on the action against Seattle Mariners.

Any normal player might have freaked out, but Paxton, who fans call "Big Maple" thanks to his Canadian heritage and his 6-foot-4, 235 pound frame, stood relatively stalwart as the Eagle prepared for landing. He had no idea it would come well before the game.

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"I was just standing there, trying not to panic", he said.

Paxton seemed to stay calm, and the eagle eventually landed on the ground and was picked up by its handler.

Ironically, the team introduced a new commercial this season centered on Paxton and his nickname, with Paxton harboring bird eggs in a nest inside his hat. The raptor's handler immediately came running onto the field with his big leather arm sleeve and the bird finally cooperated and stopped going after Paxton.

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"As I stood up he kind of fell off my back a bit and was kind of clawing to get back on my shoulder", he said.

During the National Anthem, Paxton was standing alone in left field at Target Field between warm-up throws.

In the end, the eagle landing did not give Paxton any luck.

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"The eagle knew I was Canadian, I don't know", he said.

Mariners' James Paxton, eagle landing perch, was just 'trying not to panic'