KANSAS CITY -- The Rally Mantis saga doesn't appear to be coming to an end any time soon.
As the Royals entered the clubhouse prior to Thursday night's 8-1 win over the Twins, the critter known as Rally Mantis Jr. or Rally Mantis II -- considering the all-but virtual certainty there will be need for a replacement mantis at some point -- had taken up a new residence. It sat in a clear cage with leaves filled to the brim, as Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, Matt Strahm, Salvador Perez and Billy Burns all gathered around it.
"Hopefully we can keep him alive for at least a week," Kennedy joked.
But when it comes to caring for the mantis, the Royals are taking it very seriously. At least one of them is.
Burns was designated as the mantis caretaker, and even went as far as to deliver his interviews to the media while holding the cage up for cameras outside the Royals' clubhouse. The outfielder said there were moths and crickets in the cage for food and shared the reason why he was designated to look after the team's good luck charm.
"I actually care about him not dying," Burns said.
To prepare for the job, Burns said he spent part of a night reading about mantises. Burns said he had no previous experience with caring for insects, adding he had never taken any entomology classes. He also declined comment when asked if he could spell the word "entomology."
As for the mantis, it comfortably lounged around, ultimately deciding to rest at the top of the cage. Several players said they have plans to take it on the next road trip to Miami, which means the tradition of the players coming into the clubhouse before and after games to see if Rally Mantis Jr. is alive won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
"[We] lost the first mantis, but we found the little one," Paulo Orlando said. "He's still alive, hopefully still alive for all these games."
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.