You’ve surely heard about the the Royals’ new charm by now: Rally Mantis, Jr.
Here’s a quick primer.
Although the first incarnation of the praying mantis died in Minnesota, a junior version of the bug has firmly cemented itself in baseball lore after the Royals went on a 9-0 winning streak since finding the bug. And, though the Royals broke that streak Aug. 24 with a loss to the Marlins, they still ended up winning the 3-game series in Miami.
If you’re interested in jumping on the Rally Mantis bandwagon, it turns out that praying mantises actually make pretty easy pets. A few stores sell live mantises online, and you can purchase praying mantis eggs on Amazon.
But, if you’re not a pet (or bug) person, don’t fret — there’s plenty of non-crawly options to help bring the baseball team good luck. Someone got a Rally Mantis tattoo. But there are other, less painful, choices, too.
As a honorary mascot, it’s only fitting that Rally Mantis has found his way onto Royals-themed merchandise.
Kathy Baker, who runs Kathy’s Concepts printing business out of her home in Gladstone, has been selling decals and shirts with the insect logo for only a couple of days. When she posted her Rally Mantis decal on Etsy ($3.99), she received 20 orders on the first day.
“My son Brock is a huge Royals fan, and he can’t stand the idea that the Royals may not be in the playoffs,” she said. He was the one who suggested she print the mantis onto shirts and decals.
In addition to her Etsy and Ebay shops, Baker has put her work up for sale in several convenience stores around the city . Her Rally Mantis T-shirts sell for $12.99, and she can also print the logo on any cotton item, like a baby onesie or a sweatshirt. Depending on demand, she usually ships out orders the day after they’ve been placed.
Entrepreneur Amy Meyer used her hand-lettering skills to create this adorable Rally Mantis mug ($15). Her whole family loves the Royals and watches or listens to every game. She said she creates her mugs to make people laugh, and she’s no stranger to Royals inside jokes; in April, she sold mugs commemorating Danny Duffy’s bear suit interview. She even gave one to Duffy himself.
For her, Rally Mantis is just another quirky inside joke.
“I think it’s kind of silly, but baseball players are so superstitious,” Meyer, who’s from Cheney, Kan., said. “If the Royals are having fun in the dugout, I’ll get behind it — even if it takes a praying mantis to do that. They’re just a bunch of boys having a good time catching a bug.”
Judging by photos from The K and other stadiums, Royals fans have flocked to stores to find their own mantis substitutes.
Brookside Toy and Science (at 330 W. 63rd St.) has seen enough of an increase in people asking about the insects that staff moved their Metal Earth 3D praying mantis models ($5.99) to their cash register. A sign reminds customers of the insect’s importance: “Our Royal good luck charm!”
“I hope it works for them. I’ve really enjoyed the last couple years with the Royals success,” Baker said. “Whatever it takes, right?”
So rally on, mantis lovers.