Baseball is full of traditions, but the New York Yankees have a particularly adorable one: a family of ‘bat dogs’ for the Trenton Thunder, their minor league team.
The Thunder got the idea for a bat dog when they welcomed an entertainment act, Jake the Diamond Dog, to a game and saw how fans loved it. They met with the trainer and asked if they could have their own dog trained.
The trainer found Chase, a Golden Retriever puppy, who ‘shadowed’ Jake for almost a year and a half. Chase joined the Trenton Thunder in 2002, and became a massive hit. Chase’s son Derby later followed in his father’s footsteps — and when Chase passed away in 2013 and left Derby alone, the Thunder decided to breed Derby and gave him a son, Rookie.
The dogs are a big hit with fans, and are so good at their jobs that they can pick up bats without leaving teeth marks. But they’ve also become beloved with the players and managers.
“We have had guys come in and absolutely flip out and be totally thrilled that we have a dog,” Eric Lipsman, a senior vice president of the Thunder, told the New York Daily News. “It just makes them feel like they’re home.”
Watch the dogs in action, and be ready to go ‘Awwwww’…