Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen stirred up memories of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson ahead of his team’s Wednesday road tilt against the Oakland Athletics.
22 years after the Diamondbacks legend infamously hit a dove with a fastball during a Spring Training game, Gallen recreated (sort of) the scene. Like Johnson, Gallen hit a bird in the wrong place at the wrong time, albeit this incident occurred during pregame warm-ups.
Unfortunately, the bird is no longer with us, according to Bally Sports Arizona. It suffered the same fate of the dove that Johnson hit with a fastball traveling upwards of 100 mph, which left this Earth on March 24, 2001.
In an interview with Fox Sports in 2015, the “Big Unit” described the incident from his vantage point.
“A blur going across home plate. The ball simultaneously hitting that blur,” Johnson said. “It’s just hard to really put that in perspective. It happened so quick.”
Johnson revealed that PETA even tried to charge him for killing the dove — much to nobody’s surprise.
“I was considered a bird killer, and they were actually considering filing charges on the bird’s behalf,” Johnson said.
It remains to be seen if Gallen will receive charges from the animal rights organization.
Zac Gallen enjoying Cy Young caliber season
Perhaps Gallen will cap off his 2023 season as a Cy Young Award winner, the same way Johnson did following his 2001 campaign. The 27-year-old is arguably the frontrunner, having compiled a 6-1 record in nine starts this season. He has pitched to a 2.35 ERA with 70 strikeouts and eight walks in 57.1 innings of work. Gallen has continued his ascension as the face of the Diamondbacks, who sit just 3.0 games back from the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West (25-19).
He is coming off an outing this past Saturday which he described as a “grind.” In 7.2 innings of work, Gallen allowed two runs on five hits, recording six punchouts and two walks. The Diamondbacks defeated the San Francisco Giants, 7-2.
“I felt like it was a grind,” Gallen said after the game, via MLB.com. “I didn’t have the greatest feel for my curveball. Just tried to make pitches. They scored a quick run, so just trying to keep us in the game, really.”