KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A praying mantis or two seem to have brought the Royals out of a mid-season slump and into a chance for the post season.
Call it luck, superstition, or divine insect intervention, but the magic of the mantis has descended on the home team and their fans.
"If you try to explain it, it is really not going to take off. It had to be organic, and it was," Royals Vice President Toby Cook said. "You can't get any more organic than an insect. One of them past from this life on and the other is still thriving in this little cage thing we have."
The original Rally Mantis crawled its way into the team's dugout and started an early August surge, but later died on a road trip in Minnesota.
Kimberly Hess, a naturalist from Lakeside Nature Center, said, "She did look like a female. She had a larger thorax and was a praying mantis. She was most likely injured when we found her. "
As fate would have it, Rally Jr. was captured by the team while playing in Detroit.
"Rally Mantis Jr. is a male, a little smaller," Hess said.
On most nights, Junior still brings the wins for the Royals. Now there are mantis masks, t-shirts and puppets. The fans have adopted a new sort of mascot.
"This caught on and it's the theme of 2016 for what it's worth," Cook said.
This weekend, the praying predator even attended the clubhouse mass.
The team is making sure he stays safe, so they've set up a sanctuary, complete with an all-you-can eat cricket buffet for the lucky critter.
"We might actually be doing him a little favor because it is breeding season this fall and the females get a little more aggressive and they are out hunting for food," Hess said. "They are voracious hunters. They are predators and they are carnivores. Sometimes if the males aren't quick enough to escape the females after they breed, the female will eat the males."
Free from females, the expected lifespan of this little keeper is about a year. So let's all bow in prayer with the mantis for a postseason with a testimony.