What do baseball and dogs have in common? Besides a lot of unfortunate “balls” jokes, they have… bat dogs!
Bat dogs, aka the ultimate dream job for any baseball-lovin’ pup, were first introduced back in the 1990s by minor league baseball team The Trenton Thunder in an effort to increase attendance. The Thunder first brought in Jake the Diamond Dog, a bat dog traveling act. His huge popularity prompted the Thunder to train their very own bat dog in 2003.
Enter Golden Retriever Chase, the Thunder’s first official bat dog.
Chase “played” his first season in 2003 after training with Jake and his trainer for a year. In 2009, when Chase started to see the effects of old age, the Thunder added another Golden, Derby, to lighten the load.
As was tradition, Derby trained with Chase as his understudy. When Chase passed away in 2013, Derby assumed full bat dog responsibilities. Until, that is, the birth of his son, Rookie.
Today, Derby and Rookie work together as the Thunder’s bat dogs — because two dogs is always better than one, especially when it’s a father/son duo. Here they are celebrating Father’s Day at the stadium.
Chase’s and Derby’s roster of bat retrieval is pretty impressive, including Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and A-Rod, who took notice of the pups’ retrieval skills on Twitter.
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) May 25, 2016
And don’t worry that these pups might be overworked. Sure, they take their duties seriously, but the bat dogs only work the first two innings before a human bat boy takes over. When the team is on the road, these guys stay home for a much-needed vacation.
Plus they get buttloads of attention and affection from ballplayers and fans alike. Like we said, they’re living the dream. Just check out this video featuring the Thunder’s bat dogs and see for yourself!
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