On March 24, 2001, Randy Johnson threw a pitch that may finish a life — and alter the life of 1 flock perpetually. A son, Daryl Dove, was tragically taken in a freak accident that may shock the baseball group, and grow to be irrevocably linked to Johnson.

After a few years of silence on the matter, the Dove family has agreed to talk about that day. They wish to bear in mind a son they misplaced, and share their recollections of Daryl with the world. This is their story.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.)

Janice Dove, mom of the deceased: “We all remember that day. It will haunt us forever.”

Garth Dove, father of the deceased: “Well we were enjoying a nice day at the ballpark. We would often fly down there and perch on something, you know, hang out watch the action. This is back when it was Tuscon Electric Park.”

Henry Dove, brother of the deceased: “I was only a chick at the time. Daryl was the oldest. I always wanted to hang out, fly along, but he was bigger than me.”

Janice: “Daryl was so handsome, and at that age where he was always showing off, especially if there were girls around. I’m sure that didn’t help. But it shouldn’t have gotten him killed.”

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Garth: “We’ve nested in Arizona for years, and every year when the Cactus League games start, I drilled it into their little bird brains: ‘Don’t be an idiot. The humans are bigger than you and their little ones will chase you. They are not your friends.'”

Janice: “We find it better to keep to ourselves, up away from the humans. After all, there’s always enough empty seats in the stands to swoop down and grab some popcorn as a snack, or even half an abandoned hotdog bun. I don’t even pack seeds and berries when we go, because there’s plenty to scavenge for. I know it isn’t the healthiest snack, but when we’re out as a family they’re allowed to have a treat.”

Henry: “The view on top of the stands was great, but I wasn’t allowed to go down on my own to get popcorn, which is my favorite. But Daryl was bored. He’d already swooped down a few times and he chirped at Mom until she finally agreed to let him stay while she went down with me.”

Garth [breaking down into tears]: “I still can’t help but feel it’s my fault.”

Janice put her wing round Garth, comforting him and cooing till his sobs subside.

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Garth: “Daryl and I were up there alone, and I of course was keeping an eye on Janice and Henry. God forbid something should happen to them while they’re down there. But everything went fine, and Henry got a few kernels. I didn’t even realize Daryl was missing until Janice flew back up and asked where he went.”

Janice: “I flew again up with Henry and he was simply … gone. I requested Garth the place he went, neither of us realizing this was the begin of our nightmare.

Garth: “I did not understand he had gone. We instantly hit the skies, swooping round looking for him. He wasn’t imagined to take off like that with out telling us.”

Henry: “I noticed him first. Mom and Dad have been wanting in the stands. But I noticed him perched near the backstop, and I rapid realized what he needed.”

Henry: “The gamers would spit sunflower seeds over the sides of the dugout whereas the sport was happening. Daryl liked sunflower seeds. They have been even higher than crackerjack to him.”

Garth: “He should have thought he may fly over, seize some seeds, and fly again earlier than anybody even realized.”

Janice: “I noticed it occur. Feathers in every single place. At first I could not consider it. I thought he was injured. His physique bounced on the area, after which he did not transfer.”

Garth: “Johnson was brutal along with his fastball. That factor most likely hit him going 100 miles an hour. He had no likelihood.”

Janice: “The worst part, the very worst part, is that they basically said it never even happened. To rule it a no-pitch broke my heart.”

Garth: “I’m an MLBB (Major League Bird Baseball) umpire, and I’ve seen my share of games. I can tell you I understand why they did it. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.”

Janice: “We never even got his body. They threw it in the trash. We had an empty-coffin funeral.”

Henry: “My mom tried to cover my eyes with her wings, but I watched them scrape feathers off the field. I still have nightmares.”

Janice: “Birds are killed all the time. Hunting, windows, car crashes. This was different. It should never have happened.”

Garth: “When Jeff Kent picked up his lifeless body, laughing, Janice had to hold me back. I was fluttering to get down there and peck a chunk out of his hand. No All-Star Game or Silver Slugger than year, bud! And then for them to win the World Series that year? It felt like Daryl was a sacrifice.”

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Janice: “We were rooting against the Diamondbacks every chance we got that whole season.”

Garth: “It’s Johnson we have the real issue with. Oh, sure, he didn’t want to talk about it for a while. Committing birdslaughter, and he gets to say ‘no comment.’ He doesn’t find it funny, supposed to be some sort of ‘conservationist.’ But then he made a logo of a dead dove for his photography website. It was like being punched in the gut.”

Janice: “We have a family friend who’s a parrot, and he told us when he saw his human looking at it. Bit that guy right on the finger and squawked at him for an hour. But you can imagine our distress.”

Henry: “Whenever we fly over [Johnson’s] mansion in Arizona, we make sure to leave a little something on his deck, or his car. We haven’t gotten lucky enough to see him outside yet. But we keep flying by.”

Janice: Every yr, on the anniversary, they convey it up. In a approach it is good that he is remembered. But he’ll all the time be ‘the bird that Randy Johnson hit.’ To us, he is simply our son, Daryl. And we miss him to today.”

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