When a drone started circling Fenway Park during Thursday's game between the Red Sox and Blue Jays, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello decided he wasn't taking any chances.
"I'm not going to lie," Porcello said. "I was standing under the concrete when I was out there. You just have no idea. It could be anything."
A day after the rogue drone livened up Boston's 7-6 comeback victory, Red Sox players were viewing it less as a curiosity, and more as a potential hazard.
"It's nice that we can stand here today and laugh about it," Porcello said. "Those things are capable of a lot of different things. I've seen videos, military clips and things like that. They're not supposed to be flown over airports, ballparks, any of those designated areas. It was out there, and you don't know what the intent is behind the person that's flying it. That's the part that's unsettling. Thank God nothing happened."
The FAA released a statement on Friday morning that it was investigating the incident and offered a reminder that flying a drone within three nautical miles of a ballpark beginning an hour before a game and ending an hour after is against the law, with punishment including civil fines of nearly $33,000, criminal fines of up to $250,000, and/or jail time of up to three years.
"We were talking about it in the bullpen last night, looking up and knowing it's pretty harmless, but at the same time, you never know what can happen, or if the thing dies in midair and falls on a player," said reliever Tyler Thornburg. "I have no idea how they're going to handle that type of situation. It was weird, but I just hope they come up with a good idea to take care of it when it does happen."
The relievers watched the drone start in front of them, fly by the dugout, and hover over right-center field. Thornburg's bullpen-mate, Matt Barnes, pondered some worst-case scenarios.
"It's funny now, but it could've been crazy," he said. "You can strap whatever the hell you want to it and just fly it around wherever and there you go. I wouldn't say it bugged me. It was more of an, 'Oh, (expletive), there's a drone.' Then it was, 'He's not supposed to be there.' Then you just kind of watch and monitor it and wonder, 'How do we get this thing out of here?'"
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What bothered Porcello was how the drone overrode the software designed to make flying it over a ballpark impossible.
"And that's why it's concerning, because somebody obviously took the governor off that thing and was able to fly it over the ballpark where it's not supposed to be," Porcello said. "That makes it even more concerning. I'm glad everyone's all right. I think drones are awesome. They're really cool. This just isn't the place for it."
Added Barnes, with a shake of the head: "Unfortunately it's the world that we live in today."
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