DUNEDIN, FLA.—When the stars come out to twinkle at night and the fans have all vacated the premises and the ballpark is hushed, there is suddenly a terrifying clamour.
Squawks and screeches and piercing caw-caw-caws. Angry birds. And … was that a chattering gibbon?
“Me and J.D. have looked at each other a couple of times saying, man, what’s going on?” Josh Palacios admits, wide-eyed, referring to himself and Blue Jays buddy Jonathan Davis. “A flock of birds screaming for no reason. I might have to go out there and investigate what’s going on.”
Mystery solved: The sound effects are an audio tape, pumped through the sound system at TD Ballpark overnight, to scare off real birds so they don’t excrete guano all over the seats.
Funny thing though on Friday evening, as Palacios was leaving the park. Didn’t hear a thing. “I was so locked in.”
Hours after making his Major League Baseball debut — and shame that it had to be in a tatty spring training park — Palacios was still walking on air. Next afternoon, still couldn’t wrench the grin off his face. He actually took courage from the familiar environs. “It felt like home. I’ve been here for a whole season. I’ve played spring training games in it. I already knew the field, the atmosphere, the lights, how everything plays. So I was able to be nice and comfortable.”
The 25-year-old, who’d made a good spring…