#Cubs Heyward survives bee stings

Jason Heyward was stung more than 10 times by a swarm of bees that swooped into center field Sunday, prompting him to try to escape by jumping onto the fence. Play was stopped for about five minutes in the top of the third inning of the game between the Cubs and Mariners.

“They came over from right field,” Heyward said of the bees. “I saw them moving around a little bit but [right fielder Mark Zagunis] was doing what I was doing, which is wearing it because we knew the game was going on. I wasn’t thinking to get out of there until it got crazy. I was like, ‘OK, I’m not going to stand here,’ so I tried to get away.”

Heyward was swatting at the bees, and then finally ran toward the center field fence, and jumped onto it for safety. The bees kept coming.

“I should have gone over the fence,” Heyward said.

Fans on the berm in left and center at Sloan Park hid under blankets. The Cubs relievers vacated the left field bullpen, and shared the right field ‘pen with the Mariners.

“That was wild,” Cubs starter Jason Hammel said. “I’ve never had a delay like that before.”

The bees attached themselves to a chair in the bullpen. Hammel watched from the pitcher’s mound as the bizarre scenario unfolded.

Maybe bee pollen helped? Heyward hit a two-run homer in the Cubs’ third. And Matt Szczur, who was in left field, belted a solo homer in the eighth. Szczur joked later that maybe the bees were the reason they both homered, but it’s no laughing matter.

“[Heyward] was all right, and said, ‘Go ahead, play,’ and then they came my way and I thought we’ve got to stop it,” Szczur said.

The bees stung Heyward on his face and the back of his head, but he was calm.

“If I was allergic, I would not have stayed there,” Heyward said. “I thought, ‘If [Hammel is] still pitching, I’m still playing center field.”

— Carrie Muskat

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