Bugs badgering ballplayers just part of the game

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In June 2000, Giants outfielder Barry Bonds lost a fly ball at the warning track because of a swarm of locusts and bumped it over the wall to give Shawon Dunston a three-run homer.

Reporters approached the often temperamental Bonds warily, worrying he would have no comment _ or worse. Instead, he had a good laugh at his own expense.

“You know, my dad told me if you play long enough in your career, something’s going to happen,” Bonds said. “I used to watch this on TV. Well, now I get to be on the bloopers reel.”

Hall of Fame reliever Hoyt Wilhelm once grabbed a can of bug spray at old Comiskey Park to fight off mosquitoes between pitches. Minor league games have been postponed on account of grasshoppers.

Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay recalled getting a fly stuck in his eye for several innings when he was a prospect playing at Nashville. No big thing compared to what happened to Holliday.

Not to say there was much sympathy.

Holliday’s plight brought back the time Randy Johnson killed a bird throwing a ball at spring training. Giants infielder Mark DeRosa recalled an unnamed player getting locked into a tanning bed so long he had to be scratched from the lineup because of sunburn.

San Francisco reliever Jeremy Affeldt made a hygiene joke, pointing out that moths are attracted to ear wax and “maybe he should have cleaned them.”

The Cardinals‘ medical team would be glad to learn their initial approach was on the money. Ed Spevak, curator for invertebrates for the St. Louis Zoo, said moths are attracted to all lights and in particular to the huge standards that illuminate Busch Stadium.

Holliday’s white jersey didn’t help matters, either.

“It actually works as an additional reflector to attract insects,” Spevak said.

Spevak said he’s seen incidents of flies and beetles ending up in people’s ears, noting that beetles might attempt to chew further in and damage ear drums. He didn’t think Holliday would have any long-term problems, and Holliday’s lighthearted approach on Tuesday backed that up.

“That was my concern, that it would eat through my brain,” Holliday said. “Dr. Paletta told me that’s not possible, and if it happens again I won’t panic.”

Examining the contents of the bag, Holliday wasn’t sure if he’d be able to show the moth to his kids who were in bed before he got home Monday night and at school before dad woke up.

“I don’t think it’ll hold together much longer,” Holliday said. “It’s turning to dust before my eyes.”

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