No claws in this guy's contract: Escobar becomes hiss-terical

March 17th, 2023

Eduardo Escobar is a bit of a scaredy cat. OK, more than a bit. He has a full-fledged feline phobia that has actually been a known fact since his days with the D-backs, when a stuffed rally cat in the dugout would send him into near hysterics.

But hysterics is an understatement compared to the way Escobar reacted to yet another prank from his Venezuela teammates at the World Baseball Classic when they surprised him with what he must've thought was an actual real-life kitty in a carrier. He was practically cat-atonic!

You're going to want to watch for yourself, and luckily there are plenty of opportunities, because David Peralta -- who was also teammates with Escobar in Arizona -- has been a repeat prankster throughout the tournament and, luckily for us, he's chronicled it all on Instagram. There was the incident in the batting cage ... and the incident on the bus ... and the incident in the airport.

You'd think Escobar might have cat -- er, caught -- on by now. Fool me once, etc., etc., but the gato gets him every time, and each reaction is better than the last.

The origin of Escobar's feline fear is a little hazy, though some of his former teammates told The Athletic back in 2019 that it's rooted in a childhood incident. Those teammates even tried to help him overcome his phobia with light exposure, starting with photos of cats, but even those sent Escobar scrambling.

And so the pranks have persisted. Credit to Escobar for being such a good sport about it. We all have our fears, irrational or otherwise. How we purr-severe is up to us.

Tune in Saturday night on FOX when Escobar and Venezuela take on Team USA with a trip to the Classic semifinals on the line.