August 30, 2011
But the real story — the one which went unreported, except for the following photographs — was the praying mantis invasion that Royals catcher Brayan Peña tried to thwart.
It was done without alarming the crowd on hand and creating a public disturbance. Nor did TV cameras film first contact. But as you can see above, AP photographer Paul Sancya captured the confrontation with his camera:
The mantis attempted to announce his presence with authority, climbing onto the rail in front of the Royals' dugout and staring down the crowd. Since no media reported the incident (or maybe the government confiscated all accounts), we can only speculate as to what the mantis may have said.
Perhaps it was something along the lines of, "People of Earth, we do not come in peace. We are here to avenge the imprisonment of our emissary, Zorak, by the hero you call Space Ghost. I assure you we are not cartoons, and this is no talk show." But again, that's really just a guess.
However, the mantis could not distract the Detroit fans from the game on the field. (They were likely disgruntled and apathetic, with the Tigers down 9-5 in the eighth inning.) Before the situation could escalate — with the mantis doing more to attract attention, perhaps by biting the head off of little Johnny Giavotella(notes) — Peña sprung into action.
Luring the mantis in with a smile — the smile of an assassin, really — Pena showed the insect that we as a people could overpower him. That baseball he climbed upon? We can pick that up with just a few fingers.
It's OK now, people. Peña's got this. Go back to Connecticut or whatever other planet you came from, praying mantis, and tell the rest of your friends that we won't be bullied. Whatever else you do, stop trying to interrupt our baseball games.
Isn't that right, Brayan? Brayan?
Brayan, no! Did the invading mantis disintegrate him?
Possibly. Hopefully, all the little bugger wanted was a Royals cap. Let us hope the carnage ends there.
UPDATE: We have been informed that the mantis invasion was indeed captured on the Royals telecast. Evidently, our delicately crafted (yet completely silly and fictional) narrative doesn't hold up when Pena is seen whirling away in bug-eyed fear when he first sees the insect. You can see the video here. (H/T: @RoarTigers)