illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
First off: Scherzer pitched really well last night, yay. Andy Dirks has been sent down to Toledo and Brandon Inge has returned. He will be splitting time at third and subbing in defensively, but NOT at catcher, because his knees are reportedly not good enough for such strains. Deep breath. Remain calm. Accept. OK. That is the news.
Now on to the point: mantises in baseball.
Perhaps you are already aware of this phenomenon. The most well-known example, of course, was the confrontation between a mantis and Logan Morrison in the Marlins dugout earlier this season (if you somehow have not seen video of this yet, I suggest you watch it immediately). More recently, a mantis showed up near the Red Sox bullpen while they were in Kansas City, much to the amusement and horror of the Sox broadcast team.
Mantises live in many climates and people take note of them because they look even weirder than most of the mascots in the park. A friend of mine saw one at Citi Field this year. They have been photographed in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington DC. At baseball games. Why are they always at baseball games?
Mantises have very large eyes. They are visual creatures. And although they are fearsome predators, their hunting strategy most often involves sitting very still and lying in wait. In other words, they have perfected the art of patience. They are evolutionarily primed to be baseball fans. It is only natural.
MAYBE THIS IS WHAT THE TIGERS NEED: MANTISES. Just think of what they could do for the team!
Giant bug eyes would make for entertaining staring contests during those long, boring stretches of time out in the bullpen!
The mantis’ hard exoskeleton and long reach make it well-suited to catching duty, so Alex Avila can finally take a break!
They could even use their immense grasping forelegs to protect precious natural resources!
And there’s so much more. Yes, this could be a real game-changer for Detroit. Get some mantises interested in the team, invite them to the ballpark. Heck, they like to watch games from the netting, they don’t even need ticketed seats. They will entrance and entertain the fans, they’ll frighten the opposition, they’ll help the Tigers… they can even improve the Comerica Park experience by preying upon other, more annoying insects.
I see no possible downside here. The Tigers should begin looking into ways to increase mantis attendance and interest in the team immediately.