BOSTON As if fans of the cellar-dwelling Boston Red Sox aren't downtrodden enough, for a spell on Friday the costume of Wally the Green Monster, the team's popular mascot, was missing. Fearing it was swiped, the team alerted the police.
A security guard at Fenway Park thought he saw a thief in the emerald green outfit getting away. On the Red Sox' website, Wally is described as "pretty big" - no matter who is wearing the outfit.
The timing of the incident inspired recurring mid-summer conspiracy theories. Some fans feared that Wally's disappearance was just another way to unsettle the Red Sox as they head into a crucial series against arch-rivals the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium that begins Friday night.
But shortly before 4 p.m. the Boston Police Department, which had tweeted Wally's disappearance, again tweeted that "Wally the Green Monster has been found."
"It was later revealed to officers that an employee took the costume and neglected to inform the proper supervisor. There is no one under arrest and Wally the Green Monster is safe," police said in a statement.
One fan, momentarily relieved, tweeted: "They found Wally the Green Monster. Maybe the Sawx could have the police look for pitching too."
(Reporting By Ros Krasny; Editing by Philip Barbara)