Snakin' it: Reptile relaxes in San Antonio

RoughRiders and Missions delayed by unwanted visitor ... again

Neither the Frisco RoughRiders nor San Antonio Missions is an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. (San Antonio Missions)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | May 12, 2018 12:10 AM ET

That's one way to snake the best seats at the park. 

A snake slithered its way into center field Friday during Double-A San Antonio's game against Frisco, marking the second night in a row the Texas League foes were delayed due to an animal on the field at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium. On Thursday night, a cat had to be removed from the warning track before play could resume.

Video: Snake slithers on the field at Missions game

"I heard someone from the stands yell, 'There's a snake in center field!' but I thought they were just missing around," Missions center fielder Michael Gettys said. "I think a couple pitches went by and then after the out, I just kind of looked over to my right ... and I just saw it. That was it."

Head groundskeeper Nic Kovacs estimated the snake to be 5 feet long. 

"We've seen snakes around our shop area before, but never on the field," he said. 


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To make matters even stranger, both of the stoppages occurred at the same time -- with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. 

"I think it's when all the wildlife is waking up out here," Kovacs said. 

The snake was far enough away that its size didn't faze Gettys too much. By the time he realized, the grounds crew was already heading onto the field. At that point, he left it up to them to handle the situation, since he does not have any snake-wrangling experience. Fight or run would be Gettys' options if he ever had to face a snake, he said. 

With intruders two nights in a row, Gettys is beginning to seek answers.  

"I don't know, there will probably be a lion there tomorrow," he joked. "I don't know what's going on."

The center field cameraman alerted someone on Kovacs' staff of the snake's presence. But it took a few batters for the umpires to be alerted, giving the head groundskeeper time to grab tools, instruct one of his workers to grab a bucket and plan the rest of the ambush. 

"I've watched plenty of Steve Irwin videos in the past," Kovacs said. 

"I've seen delays for cats before, but never a snake," he added. "Back-to-back nights, that's kind of out there." 

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After a contentious back-and-forth, the snake eventually was rounded up by Kovacs and his crew. But the reptile certainly lived up to the adage "snake it 'til you make it."

Stadium employees have begun setting odds on which animal will next take the field in San Antonio. Opossum opens as the favorite at 2-1, with raccoon and armadillo also generating interest. 

While there's no wildlife protocol in place, the last two nights have made Kovacs reconsider that. He said he'll think about instituting one during the offseason.

"We should probably get some gear to protect us from anything else that we might encounter out there," he added. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for MiLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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