Tuesday's game between the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates came to a sudden halt midway through the fifth inning. An unidentified person flew a drone over the field and shut down the action. The umpire pulled all of the players off the field and prompted a delay.
The incident occurred when Twins pitcher Jose Berrios stood on the mound looking to retire the Pirates. The Twins registered two outs but left the field before Berrios could strike out a batter. Both teams expressed frustration as they sat in the dugout, waiting for the game to resume. Some players even tried throwing baseballs at the drone in an effort to knock it out of the sky.
"We are in a...drone delay. We don't know. AL baseball is weird," the Pirates tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. The Twins also weighed in after the drone left, expressing frustration about the season. "2020 baseball, man. Play ball, again," the organization wrote.
The game ultimately resumed after a delay. The drone flew high into the air over center field and then headed for the parking lot. It headed toward the parking lot and disappeared, prompting the umpire to resume the action on the ground.
"A 'Drone Delay' at Target Field for the Pirates and Twins. 2020 doing 2020 things," one person tweeted on Tuesday. Many others agreed with this sentiment. They expressed a mixture of frustration and confusion due to the drone delay. This flyby was an unexpected moment during the game, and the fans were not happy about the lengthy delay.
While MLB did not appreciate the use of the drone, this particular type of technology recently benefited another sport. FOX Sports used a drone capable of flying 80 mph during NASCAR events to enhance the broadcast. This facet was made possible due to the fact fans could not attend the majority of events.
"The fan reaction has been fantastic to the drone," said Mike Davies, SVP of Field & Technological Operations for FOX Sports. "Especially with NASCAR, because one of the biggest things about racing in general is that it's very hard to get a view of just how fast the cars are going on TV. You go to a NASCAR track or you go to a F1 track or an Indy car track, you can see how fast these cars are going and it's really exciting.
"I think that the lack of onsite fans has certainly helped that in terms of flying space. We may even take a step back once fans come back. But I think that the learning that we've done and the trust that we've gotten from NASCAR in terms of flying it safely and the difference it's made in the broadcast, I think has been something that is going to stay with us forever in sports."
FOX Sports successfully incorporated the drone during its run of NASCAR events and has plans on doing so once again in 2021. MLB, on the other hand, is not yet at that point. Drones still force delays in games.