Watch live as Royals take on Tigers in Free Game of the Day

When you think of rally animals, what do you think of? A squirrel? A monkey? You probably don’t think of a creepy looking triangle-faced bulging-eyed insect. Well, the Kansas City Royals are out to change how people think of rally animals, because last week they found a praying mantis and adopted it as their team’s Rally Mantis.

You can watch the Royals, sadly without their departed insect friend (RIP Rally Mantis), play the Detroit Tigers, and you can watch for free. Why? Because it’s Yahoo Sports’ MLB Free Game of the Day! First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can stream the game on the Yahoo Sports app, Yahoo’s Sports Home, MLB index, video home and this very post. Local blackouts apply, per MLB rules.

Though we know the end of this saga, we should start at the beginning. Outfielder Billy Burns told the origin story of their Rally Mantis to the Kansas City Star, and it’s the kind of rags-to-riches tale that every praying mantis hopes for. Or would hope for if they had brains that could comprehend it. They found the insect in a garbage can last week, and they asked their strength coordinator to fish it out. They put it on the railing of the dugout and it didn’t really do much, probably because it was a praying mantis.

Burns got the mantis to go onto his hat, which he wore in the dugout for a few innings. He apparently felt like it was helping pitcher Danny Duffy, and the Royals got the win that night. When they came back the next day, the mantis was sitting on the dugout railing, and a legend was born. In the video, Burns said “We just let him sit there and hang out with the team again, and we got another win,” which conjures up amazing images of the team actually hanging out with a praying mantis.

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The Rally Mantis lived in their dugout for a few days while the team took two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox. (The Kansas City Star has extensive video of the little guy crawling around the dugout and on various team personnel.) But then they brought the Rally Mantis with them to Minneapolis for their series with the Minnesota Twins, and tragedy struck on August 12.

The mantis was indeed gone, departed to the big cricket field in the sky. (I read that mantises eat crickets.) But Danny Duffy, who had been helped by the Rally Mantis on the first night he appeared in the dugout, wanted to pay tribute to the team’s little insect friend. So he made a video, which was posted to Twitter by his teammate Dillon Gee.

You’re not seeing things. Danny Duffy really did add a little Royals hat to pictures of the praying mantis. That’s dedication.

Farewell, Rally Mantis. Your memory will live on.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher