Pregame Stare Down
We head out to the field still 2+ hours before game time as Coach is ready to officially lead warm-ups. As we walk down the left field line toward the Nationals bullpen where the pitchers will warm up first, we spot reliever Doug Slaten engaged in a serious stare down with what appears to be a giant praying mantis perched atop the dugout. We continue on our way, and as Slaten joins the assembled pitchers, he recaps the encounter with the insect, taking care to note the unique capabilities of its eyes. “I couldn’t sneak up on it,” he explains in amazed frustration. “Its eyes could wrap around behind its head, like it didn’t have a blind spot.”
We’re not sure, but we take that to mean Slaten did not win the staring contest.