Meet the Nats' newest center fielder: A bug

August 3rd, 2021

WASHINGTON -- As the Nationals took the field in the top of the ninth inning in their 7-5 loss on Monday, a 10th man joined them. Well, kind of.

In between innings, a praying mantis hopped onto the hat of Victor Robles. Maybe he knew about it or maybe nobody told him he had a hitchhiker. Either way, the mantis wasn't going anywhere.

When Robles jogged out to center field for the ninth, the insect stayed atop his cap, getting a view many fans would be envious of.

Robles even made sure that the mantis -- which had moved onto the brim of his cap -- knew how many outs there were in the inning at one point.

Unfortunately, it may have been a rally bug ... for the wrong team. The Phillies joked that it was their "rally mantis" on Twitter, supposing that the bug in the outfield cheered them on and helped them score five runs in the ninth.

While the bug became the topic of conversation at Nationals Park, he didn’t steal the show like another animal at Yankee Stadium. Baseball Twitter not only had a rally mantis on Monday, but an MVP cat too, which ran onto the field, stopping play during the Orioles-Yankees game amid a choir of "MVP" chants.

The cat was eventually caught and taken off the field, but rally mantis lived to see another day. The bug jumped off Robles’ hat at some point in the ninth, scurrying off.

When an animal runs onto the field during a game, the first thought is always, "How did it get here?"

However, for the rally mantis, it seems like it may be the most recent generation of Nationals Park mantises. In 2018, Erick Fedde made a friend during the national anthem. Who knows, maybe Robles' mantis is just the newest in a long line of Washington Nationals mantises.