CLEVELAND -- The Indians have invited the Yankees into their insect and animal kingdom again this weekend.
In Game 2 of the 2007 American League Division Series, it was an attack by the midges that rattled Joba Chamberlain. On Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field, it was a decidedly more low-key, but nonetheless humorous appearance by a flock of seagulls that interfered with Nick Swisher's seventh-inning at-bat against Carl Pavano.
No, A Flock of Seagulls didn't come out of retirement and rock the house with a rendition of their 1980s hit, "I Ran (So Far Away)."
Rather, a large flock of seagulls that has inhabited this ballpark throughout the Tribe's eight-game homestand flew in from behind home plate when Swisher fouled Pavano's 2-1 pitch into the net. With the gulls suddenly circling, Pavano had to step off the mound before his next pitch. Then he got Swisher to strike out swinging when the at-bat resumed.
"Seagulls were flying over my head," Pavano said. "It was just a quick thing, but it caught my eye. I think it caught everyone's eye, because everyone, I think, got surprised by it."
Said Swisher: "You notice it, but once you get into the box, you don't pay much attention to it. They're all over the place. It is what it is, and it's no problem. You can't worry about stuff like that."
The gulls have become veritable season-ticket holders here. Throughout the past week, they've taken to poking around in the outfield grass while play is going on.
"They've been out, full-bore," Pavano said. "I don't know if it's because of the bugs around or what."
Yes, the bugs were once again in attendance Friday and Saturday night. But Chamberlain wasn't pitching, and they didn't cause the stir that erupted in '07.
As for the gulls, Pavano, who took the no-decision after 7 1/3 strong innings in the Tribe's 5-4 win, didn't credit them as his secret weapon on the strikeout.
"I'd like to think it was the pitch," he said with a laugh.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.