August is already half-gone and it’s hard to believe. Signs of the approaching Fall are beginning to appear. Footballs are flying over at the high school practice field while the marching band rehearses their formations in the parking lot. My tomatoes are once again infested with worms, despite a liberal application of Sevin dust. And the Royals have done just enough since the turn of the month that some people believe they still have a shot at a Wild Card spot, despite being 6.5 games back, a probability that comes in at a whopping 1.2% chance of success. It’s a crazy idea to be sure, but Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer are hitting again, and lately the rotation has been consistently good. Even Dillon Gee got a win last night. So it makes perfect sense that a Praying Mantis gets the credit for the recent good fortune.
Actually the Royals are on their second mantis now, because the first one expired on a road trip to Minnesota under suspicious circumstances. Local authorities have been stingy with information. Rally Sr. had appeared in the Royals dugout several days earlier on a home-stand. The team promptly went on a run, posting a 5-1 record, and whether he wanted it or not, Rally the Praying Mantis had a new purpose in what is normally a very short life. The attention may have been too much. After the ill-fated trip to Minnesota, Rally Jr. showed up in the visitor’s dugout in Detroit, and when the Royals went on to sweep the punchless Tigers, a fair number of otherwise rational people began suggesting there was powerful juju at work.
Time will tell. But one thing is obvious. The boys are winning again, and they are having fun doing it. They’re loose and they smile a lot and they are playing good baseball. They seem to be reveling in the joy that comes from just playing the game, and to hell with all that other stuff. Whether or not it results in a trip back to the post-season remains to be seen, but it could be that the Royals have the rest of the American League right where they want them.