Let The Alligator Throw The First Pitch

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Photo: Kelley Gandurski (AP)

Chance the Snapper—a Chicago alligator who gained fame last week when he was first noticed living in the Humboldt Park lagoon—was taken into custody Tuesday morning by reptile expert Frank Robb, who was hired specifically to grab the creature. Before he was apprehended, the 5-foot-3 Chance captured the attention of Chicagoans—who descended on the lagoon to catch a glimpse—as well as the nation. But it’s Robb, not Chance, who’s getting all the glory in the aftermath.


Following the early-morning catch, Robb gave a press conference to show off his prize and explain how he tracked the alligator for 36 hours straight, then used a fishing rod and some “vocalizing” to haul in the runaway reptile.

“People ask ya how you catch an alligator,” he said. “‘Just barely’ is the answer.”

But where was Chance during all the festivities? He was confined to a bucket, only pulled out by Robb at the end of the news conference. Per multiple reports, he wasn’t even able to speak to the gathered reporters, though he did make the most of the situation by wearing a striking red bow tie.

As Chance remains silenced by the Chicago Dept. of Animal Care and Control, Robb continues to soak up the honors. On Wednesday, he’ll turn on Buckingham Fountain, and tonight, he’ll be throwing out the first pitch at the Cubs’ game before they take on the Reds. Who knows where Chance the Snapper will be, but he won’t have a choice seat as Cubs pitcher Alec Mills makes his season debut.

Where in our laws does it say an alligator can’t throw out a damn first pitch? Let Chance pitch! Let him waddle out to the mound, chomp on that baseball, and spit it towards Victor Caratini at home plate as the Chicago crowd roars, instead of trotting out a “reptile expert” to do the job for him. Imagine the kind of goodwill baseball could generate by recreating this image with Anthony Rizzo and an alligator.


There’s plenty of precedent for fauna delivering first pitches at major-league games. Grumpy Cat has done it. Max the Dog did it. Even Hello Kitty has done it! This reptilian bias by the Cubs against a lovely alligator who didn’t harm anyone—that we know of—should not stand.