Weather sends baseball grounds crewman on wild tarp ride
A member of the grounds crew for Alabama's Birmingham Barons was blown across a field tarp on July 1, as a severe storm swept over the stadium, bringing with it powerful winds.
The life of a minor league baseball grounds crew member isn't usually glamorous. It's not a job that would normally get your name chanted by the fans or get you on SportsCenter.
Most of the time.
Caleb Paullus works as head groundskeeper of the Birmingham Barons and was leading his crew out onto the field Wednesday night to pull a tarp over the diamond during a thunderstorm. Amid the hustle to keep as much of the field dry as possible, both tragedy and fame simultaneously struck.
Paullus had just grabbed the left side of the tarp when a gust of wind propelled him to fame... the hard way. In the blink of an eye, his feet were above his head, and his body was being hurled along the tarp, that had accidentally turned into the world's most painful slip 'n slide.
Other angles of the incident show fellow grounds crew team members rushing out to help resecure the unmanned tarp. In the clip, Paullus appears to be OK and jumps right back up.
It's not the first time a member of the Barons has made the news for his eye-catching air time. Basketball legend Michael Jordan spent a season with the team as well, infamously struggling to adjust to the new sport for 127 games before returning to the NBA.
Birmingham Barons Michael Jordan is brushed back by a pitch in the third inning of their game against the Chattanooga Lookouts at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Birmingham, Ala., Friday, April 8, 1994. Jordan flied out on his first bat in his first official game for the AA Barons. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Paullus, who couldn't initially be reached by AccuWeather, was identified by former team employee Courtney LeSueur who joked on Twitter that she was glad it wasn't her "clumsy" self, falling in front of the world.
Paullus later confirmed to AccuWeather that he was the unlucky team member who was sent flying but declined an interview as he hopes to move past the incident, "as much as it gives us all a laugh."
LeSuer, a former graphic designer for the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, said Paullus is in his first year as head groundskeeper.
"The whole staff is all hands on deck whenever tarp-pulling situations occur," she said in an email.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert, the tarp incident can be blamed on a nasty line of storms that has inundated the Southeast in recent days.
An abundance of tropical moisture has unleashed heavy rain on the area and that "was definitely the case on Wednesday in Alabama," she said.
After the game was called off due to the rain, Paullus likely wasn't the only one in Birmingham picking himself back up.
"Along with the heavy rain, the storm that impacted the Birmingham area on Wednesday evening brought a period of gusty winds as well," Gilbert said. "Storms that fired up in other parts of the state on Wednesday were able to bring down tree limbs and power lines."
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