This week the boys of summer are completing the annual ritual of spring training with the start of a full slate of major league baseball exhibition games. The swing of the Louisville Slugger bat will soon be pitted against the blazing speed of the leathered Rawlings fastball as veterans and rookies alike seek spots on the team or in the starting rotations.
This past week, however, a different kind of bat made headlines with an unscheduled and unnerving appearance at another major league sports venue; an NBA basketball game. These bats were flying mammals that descended from the rafters of the Dallas Maverick Stadium and flittered about among the unsuspecting crowd and the players. Their appearance resulted in the suspension of the game as officials tried to net and remove the animals.
One uninformed NBA basketball player snatched the bat that was flitting around him out of the air with his bare hands and deposited it in a garbage can off court. The following day this bat versus basketball player action was featured on every morning major network news show. An uninformed announcer went as far as to laud the player for his bravery in capturing a bat with his bare hand. However, for his actions, this particular NBA player was not recognized for his bravery but rather he received a rabies vaccination. Why? Because bats may carry rabies. Make no mistake about it; rabies is a fatal disease.
If you encounter a dead, sick or easily capture bat contact your local county health officials to have it tested for rabies. For more information about how to keep you, your family and your favorite NBA basketball player safe from rabies contact your local county extension office or wildawareutah.org.