The history of pranks in baseball is long and proud. As long as there has been baseball, players and coaches have been pranking each other. Sometimes the pranks are simple, like attaching a bunch of matches to the back of a pitcher’s cleats. And sometimes they’re complicated, like recruiting a bunch of people to convince a pitcher he’s been traded to Japan. Casey Stengel, who played over 100 years ago, was a prank master.
So when Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins decided to pull a prank before Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, he was just continuing baseball’s grand tradition.
Sano had a rubber rattlesnake with him in the dugout, and was showing to other teammates when pitching coach Neil Allen came by. He was handing out high fives to his players and getting everyone psyched up for the game (which would end up lasting 15 innings). Allen approached Sano to give him a high five, gave him a pat on the chest, and then Sano held up his hand. Allen went to clasp it and found a rubber rattlesnake.
Allen’s reaction is what every prankster dreams of. He looked down at it, and as soon as his brain registered that it was a snake, he slapped it with both hands, let out an unintelligible noise, and jumped backward into the arms of another Twins player as his hat fell off his head. MLB’s Cut4 captured Allen’s reaction in a gif, and it is absolutely glorious.
Sano’s perfectly placed rubber snake proves that pranks don’t have to be complicated to be funny. You don’t need to orchestrate a fake trade to Japan to get a big reaction.
All you need is a rubber reptile and a dream.
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