Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jack Reinheimer always had a plan when a critter patrolled his backyard. Stay inside.
"At my house, like in my backyard and stuff, I just kind of stay away from it and let it do its own thing," the Triple-A Aces second baseman said.
On Sunday, Reno center fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker hauled in a popup in the bottom of the third inning. He tossed the ball into Reinheimer, who trotted back to the infield. There the D-backs' No. 18 prospect was promptly stymied by an unwelcomed visitor in the dirt at Raley Field en route to the Aces' 6-5 victory over the River Cats.
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"I didn't really notice it at first, but then I looked down and it was right at my feet," Reinheimer said of a small snake that slithered near his post. "I've never actually had it like right there next to my feet before without knowing it was there, so that was kind of strange.
"I don't really do well with bugs and rodents and snakes and all anyway, so that was like the last place I was expected to be startled by something like that, but it was funny."
The thin striped creature maybe a little more than a foot long was far from what a rattler on an Arizona uniform would depict, but more than enough to put a mild scare into the 24-year-old.
"I'm terrible with that. Brutal with that kind of stuff," Reinheimer said. "I was probably a couple feet from it. It wasn't very big -- it was only a couple feet long -- but it just freaked me out."
The unusual occurrence rendered the East Carolina product somewhat speechless. After getting first-base umpire Clay Park's attention, Reinheimer could only point to tip him off to the creature.
"I asked the umpire, 'Do we just keep playing?' I don't know if we're supposed to try and pick it up and get it off the field, but I'm not laying out for a ball if it's right there," Reinheimer said.
The small reptile garnered a small group of spectators as umpires and players from both sides came out to check out the situation.
"[Park] called the other umps to come over and investigate or whatever and then they got somebody out there with a bucket and they figured it out," Reinheimer said. "Probably like five or six people came over, I was pretty impressed with how quick they got it off the field. I didn't know what we were going to do."
Groundskeepers corralled the snake using a bucket and a shovel and hauled it off the field.
"I was glad I didn't have to like go and grab it or something," Reinheimer said. "It was pretty funny. We got back in the dugout and people were asking what it was and everything, but honestly, I kind of forgot about it after the next inning."
The home half of the next frame was highlighted by a grand slam by the River Cats' Tim Federowicz. Hank Conger countered with a solo shot in the fifth for the Aces before Reno's five-run eighth, fueled by a two-RBI double by Reinheimer.
In his only hit of the contest, the self-proclaimed ophidiophobe applauded his luck despite his earlier run-in with the snake.
"I was facing the sinkerballer [Tyler Rogers], little side-arm guy and I wanted to see the ball deep," Reinheimer said. "I had two strikes, and luckily I got a pitch that I could handle and it stayed fair by, I think, two inches. But luckily I got enough of it for it to get through and it was a good inning for us."