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June 2018

'Lifer:' Need Ideas to Get Through a Terrible Baseball Game?

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Lifer: Done The Baseball Way

 

Welcome to a brand-new to of Lifer! Our team has spent the last couple of weeks choosing items and topics to include that would resonate most with you, our readers. Lifer is all about our shared love of baseball. We’re all passionate about some aspect of the game, and have different ways to express that passion. For our Lifer team, part of the baseball fan lifestyle includes sharing stories and recommendations, and connecting with all of you. 

 This edition of Lifer is particularly special. All of our writers have a personal connection to the items we’ll be featuring. You’ll get to learn more about our baseball fan lifestyles, while reading about a variety of apparel, promotions, and giveaways. This edition also features a very humorous piece by a guest writer that every baseball fan will definitely relate to.

So, join us as we do life the baseball fan way! There’s sure to be something featured in Lifer for everyone. 

 

~RoseAnn Sapia 

 

Two Highlights From Tailgate
By Helen Silfin

  Red Sox Tailgate

This Red Sox t-shirt from American Eagle’s Tailgate line is the perfect combination of throwback and modern, classic and unique. It is a cute alternative to a regular player t-shirt without being uncomfortably tight or overwhelmingly frilly. It has such potential to be an everyday wardrobe staple because it is so clean and simple. Having regular retail sizing on women’s sports apparel may be what most excites me about this shirt (and entire clothing line). For years I would see a cute top in the women’s section of a team store only to find out size “large” was closer to a children’s small than anything else. I have shopped at American Eagle for the better part of the last decade and know exactly what size I wear from them. The shirt comes in XS-XXL.

Brought to you by American Eagle’s Tailgate line – this adorable vintage New York Mets sweatshirt is everything I have ever wanted. Every American Eagle sweatshirt I have owned has been super soft and cozy enough to sleep in for days on end. Baseball is not always played in sunny summer weather and it can be hard to stay warm without hiding my Mets shirt under my jacket. This is just what I need to be comfortable at games and get me away from the chunky, shapeless, and unflattering ghosts of sweatshirts past. Even though watching the Mets feels like a waking nightmare at times, this sweatshirt will only bring sweet dreams of home runs and postseason baseball. The sweatshirt comes in XS-XXL.

Mets Tailgate

You MadBum?
By: RoseAnn Sapia

Bumgarner Shirt

Sometimes the best gameday giveaways are the ones that only the home team fans would truly treasure. The San Francisco Giants are giving away an “Expressions of Madison Bumgarner” T-Shirt to the first 20,000 fans on Saturday, June 23rd when the Giants take on the San Diego Padres. I could not have laughed harder when I saw this shirt! 

 

I first found out about this giveaway on an ad behind home plate.  It read, “Expressions of Madison Bumgarner T-Shirt Giveaway”. I had no idea what to expect, but was immediately intrigued. What are the “Expressions of MadBum”? There’s Joe West stare down Bum, and Yasiel Puig at-bat Bum. So many different ideas ran through my head of what this shirt could possibly showcase.

 

Well, this shirt was not what I expected! This unique giveaway features nine possible Bumgarner scenarios. The twist? Each scenario has the same stoic MadBum expression pictured above it. The humor of it is in its truth and simplicity. Bumgarner truly does have that same expression a majority of the time, aside from a few tenser exchanges he occasionally finds himself in. 

 

This is a giveaway Giants fans don’t want to miss! More information about San Francisco Giants promotions can be found here. 

10 Ways To Distract Yourself During a Terrible, Terrible Game

By: Victoria Edel

 

As certain as humidity, frizzy hair, and sweat, summer’s arrival guarantees some intensely embarrassing, boring, and/or awful baseball games. But you don’t have to change the channel just because your team’s backup catcher is pitching an inning. Here are some games you can play with yourself to enjoy the game:

 

1) Count everyone in the stands who’s on their phone. Two points for bored selfie takers, five points if it’s Keith Hernandez on Twitter, ten points if it’s A-Rod during Sunday Night Baseball. If your point total is higher than the number of runs your team’s relievers give up, you win.

 

2) Match the players on your team to new, themed walk up songs. Maybe every player needs a One Direction bop (Brandon Nimmo would have “Steal My Girl” and Yoenis Cespedes would use “No Control”). Maybe they each need a Disney song (Aaron Judge is “Let It Go” and Giancarlo Stanton is “Hakuna Matata”). Or match them to tracks on Carly Rae Jepsen’s masterpiece, Emotion (Mike Trout gets “Run Away With Me,” and Shohei Ohtani is “Making The Most Of The Night”). Put some Carly on and dance to “Your Type” as your team strands two runners in scoring position.

 

3) Decide which players most need a makeover from the Fab Five. Imagine Jonathan Van Ness flirting with Charlie Blackmon as he trims his monstrous beard. Imagine Antoni teaching Jacob DeGrom how to make a sandwich so he’ll eat less McDonald’s. Imagine Karamo crying with Joey Votto, two handsome bald men coming together to dismantle toxic masculinity one heart to heart at a time. Imagine them crying with you as you watch your favorite player break his nose when a ball hits him in the face.

 

4) Figure out which players’ names fit into “Alexander Hamilton, my name is Alexander Hamilton,” then rewrite the song for them. “Michael Conforto. My name is Michael Conforto. There are a million rings I have to win, so just you wait, just you wait. When he was ten he went and played in the Little League World Series, his mother said, ‘Michael one day you’ll play in the real World Series’....” Stop when you realize rhyming is hard. Hum the tune to yourself as your team’s center fielder misjudges a fly ball and allows two runs to score.

 

5) Sort the players into their Hogwarts Houses. This only works as a distraction if you’re not a Yankees fan, since every person in the Yankees organization is a Slytherin, except Didi Gregorius, a Hufflepuff. Think about how your team’s catcher wouldn’t be charged any passed balls if he could use a simple “Accio Baseball.”

 

6) Picture what this game would look like if it were directed by a famous movie director. Greta Gerwig could capture the lazy California splendor of Petco Park, heartbreaking but soul-quenching at the same time. JJ Abrams would use so much lens flare on those night games. Nancy Myers would find the prettiest cocktail in the stadium and catch the reflection of a home run – not your team’s – in the glass.

 

7) Make up new skills contests for the day before the All-Star game. Which infielders can turn the most double plays? Which pitcher can pick-off the most runners off first base? Who wouldn’t watch the Taco Bell Steal Home Challenge? Apparently, no one on your team will be competing in any of these, but it’s nice to dream.

 

8) Write a letter to the commissioner. Not about anything in particular, I just figure most of Rob Manfred’s mail is mean and aggressive, so maybe he’d like to hear about your idea for a baseball-themed season of Queer Eye. Keep it light, but feel free to slide in a postscript about how your team’s losing record is because of bad ownership. 

 

9) DM your favorite players with your song suggestions from number 2. If Anthony Rizzo can’t handle that Taylor Swift’s “Getaway Car” should be his walk-up song, should he even be your favorite player? Think about who deserves the best Taylor Swift song of all time, “All Too Well,” as your team runs out of relievers.

 

10) Try to find the umpires’ social media. When nothing comes up, find their wives’ or kids’ Instagrams. Think about the type of person who’d become an umpire. Are they masochists? Do they love getting screamed at? Do they just hate themselves?  Google Nora Ephron’s essay about Bernice Gera, the first professional female umpire, who resigned after a single game. Think about the patriarchy, the resiliency of women, the humanity of women, and the imperfections that define us all. 

 

Look up at the score — it’s still just the fifth inning.

 


Pain and Glory: Memories of a Transgender Cardinals Fan

Danielle Solzman

I’ve been a St. Louis Cardinals fan dating back to some of the earliest baseball games at Old Cardinal Stadium and saw the Louisville Redbirds take the field. The Redbirds were affiliated with the Cardinals so the allegiance to the Birds on the Bat stuck.

My first trip to Busch Stadium came on June 30, 1996. It was only the second MLB game I ever attended with the first being the Reds and Giants in July 1995 at what was then Riverfront Stadium. When you’re a Cardinals fan, you never forget your first trip to Busch. It was a hot day with the weather in the 90s so of course, my mom made us leave the game early! Tickets were $12 at the time. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-3 that day.

While every year would see a new MLB stadium added, the next trip to Busch wouldn’t come until 2005 as the stadium would be torn down to make way for Busch Stadium III next door. It was August 4, 2005. While the Cardinals fell to the Florida Marlins that night in a 4-3 loss, there were a lot of emotions to be taken in. Jeff Suppan started the game and took the loss. It was only my second-ever game at Busch but it would also be my last game at Busch.

In the morning that followed, I would purchase my Got Rings? shirt that I would continue to wear for over the next decade. My family went to the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum and would take the stadium tour shortly thereafter. During the tour, we would visit the press box, the dugout, Batter’s Eye Club, Plaza of Champions, all the statues, and the Umpires’ Locker Room.

It’s kind of ironic to think about now but I didn’t get many photos with me in them. Not with the Stan Musial or Ozzie Smith statue. I had seen the Jack Buck statue but wasn’t able to snap a pic in time. I took one of the Augustus Busch Jr. statue with my brother. There was the one with my brother and I in front of the home run scoreboard that tracked the 1998 race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

One of the photos that I had taken with myself included was in the Cardinals dugout with my father. This was going to be my last time ever in the stadium that once played home to Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ken Boyer, Ozzie Smith, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Stan Musial (he worked as a GM and special assistant), Whitey Herzog, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and broadcaster Jack Buck. I was not leaving without a photo in that dugout!

Cut to August 2, 2006. It’s the first trip to Busch Stadium III during what would turn out to be a magical year by finishing with the club’s 10th World Series championship. The Cards were crushed 16-8 by the Philadelphia Phillies. It was unfortunate in the loss. I was able to see the Cards play twice in person that season. We lost both times. Oh, well. You can’t win them all.

I had the day off during finals week that May so I treated myself to a Cardinals game against the Reds. Because it had rained earlier, they weren’t doing batting practice but the entire Cardinals bullpen was signing autographs that day in addition to a few position players. On the autograph front, it was one of my best days ever: Adam Wainwright, Jason Isringhausen, Braden Looper, Randy Flores, Brad Thompson, Josh Hancock, and Aaron Miles.

Because my brother attended St. Louis University, I took advantage of a family weekend trip in late September 2007. I would finally get my photo with the Jack Buck statue while taking photos of all the other statues.

In spite of all this, I don’t look at these photos any more. Not since late 2015 when I came out as a transgender woman to myself and my immediate family. I would later come out to everyone in my life over Memorial Day weekend in 2016 before going full-time that September.

Our next trip came in August 2012. This was the first family trip to a ball game that would include my brother’s wife and daughter. I was able to meet two sportswriters that I admire before the game: Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel. I would also meet Mike Shannon later that evening when he was doing his radio show at his restaurant.

Even though these trips did happen and the memories last forever, it’s hard looking at photos and seeing a body that you know is wrong. Even while working on this article and looking back at photos to make sure I got information correct, I couldn’t help but cringe. Even in the photos that I really wanted to take, it was hard to get a smile out of me while presenting as male. I’m a transgender woman. Even though I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy since May 1, 2016, not a day goes by in which I don’t pray to wake up as a cisgender woman.

When I came out to my family, my mom wanted to throw away all my baseball books because she doesn’t think I can be a sports fan, because I’m a woman. I’m sorry but that’s not the way it works. Not when I know so many women who are baseball fans and quite a few of them who cover the game in one way or another. One of my good friends used to work in ESPN PR so when I covered the Cardinals for Fansided’s Redbird Rants, I would get interview opportunities all the time when St. Louis played on Sunday Night Baseball.

While some trans women may have faked being a sports fan in order to fit into a society that says men must love sports, my love of baseball has never wavered. One of the first things I did as soon as my boobs grew to a decent size was buy a women’s St. Louis Cardinals shirt that I could be able to wear in public. Women’s clothing sizes is another story for another day but for the love of everything, is it so hard to be consistent among all brands?!?

The one thing that did change upon coming out, however, was how hard reading was initially without the right hormones in my system. Not being able to do something you love definitely hurt. By the way, if anything, my baseball book collection has grown since coming out! Some things haven’t changed. I still follow my Cardinals whenever I have the chance. 


Deep Dive: How Did the Blue Jays Approach the 2018 MLB Draft?

Sometimes the story focuses on the methodology, or perhaps about the patterns which may or may not have been the result of an intentional plan. Other times it’s more personal stories, or “behind the scenes” intrigue. As an example of the latter, one of the stories of the Toronto Blue Jays 2016 draft was Bo Bichette’s revelation that he’d rejected bonus offers from several other teams prior to the Blue Jays selecting him in the third round. He said this was because he liked the approach the Toronto organization took, and their willingness to allow him to keep his unorthodox swing rather than trying to “fix” it in order to make it more typical. Such stories are catnip that turns a dull report into something alive. Of course, not every pick - not most of them truth be told - can be crammed into a narrative other than the boilerplate “best player available” cliche. Most are, though, simply that.

However, player personnel executives for any team will tell you, as Toronto’s Director of Amatuer Scouting Steve Sanders said to my friends at Future Blue Jays last year, that as you get deeper into the draft every player selected had someone in the draft room passionately arguing for him. Still, the reality is that most of them the average fan never hears about. For example, if we skip back five years to be fair, from the 2012 draft which produced Marcus Stroman, the Jays selected 44 players. Twelve of whom didn’t sign. Of the remaining thirty two, twenty four are out of the system and most are out of baseball altogether. Of the eight still around, the average fan at a typical Jays game could, if they are pretty well informed, probably name three (Stroman, Anthony Alford, and Ryan Borucki). That’s very typical, and it’s not a “bad draft”. If a team scores as many as three players who make a legitimate contribution in the major leagues over the course of his career, that’s a job well done.

To narrow the focus to the current management team’s work for the Blue Jays, the early returns are positive. In 2016, before Sanders came aboard, they added Bichette and first rounder TJ Zuech, both are consensus top 10 prospects in the system, and three others who appear on many professional Top 30 rankings for the system and that doesn’t include breakout 2B prospect Cavan Biggio who’s lept onto every radar this year. From last year’s group the feelings are even more positive. Nate Pearson came into the year as the team’s highest ranked pitching prospect (albeit he’s sidelined with injury after having made only one game appearance this spring) and all four others among their first five selections are considered legitimate exciting prospects, and at least five others are intriguing enough to warrant keeping more than an eye on. This is to say, the draft room team for the Jays has shown themselves skilled, based on early returns, even if the player chosen at a given spot may not be a player with a “narrative.”

Which brings me to the 2018 draft. I confess, even as a prospect wonk most of the selections this month left me at a loss for narrative. With few exceptions, there was not much to get a “handle” on. But here’s some of the things I’ve learned since, mingled up with some speculation on my part.

The initial story on first round selection Jordan Groshans was that they left a couple of very highly regarded pitchers on the board in order to select him, which raised some eyebrows on Day One. Yes, he’s a high school shortstop (and almost certainly soon to be 3B given his size) with prodigious power potential, one who’d been seen as a likely choice 8-10 picks further down the board but those pitchers were thought to be obvious steals. That question  lingered until the early stages of Day Two.

With their second choice, they leaned into perhaps the most obvious narrative related to their farm system - bloodlines. RF Griffin Conine, son of Jeff, was still on the board (in February he was being projected as a top 10 choice) and they did just what the story would want them to do and scooped him up. This was a pick I’d anticipated and for which I’d rooted. Another guy with really big power, he’d had a lot of struggles at the plate for much of his college season at Duke, but he heated up down the stretch and the Jays think it’s real.

On Day Two, with their first pick (in the third round), the other shoe dropped on the Groshans pick. The team selected a RHP named Adam Kloffenstien, one of the youngest pitchers available in this draft, and not at all coincidentally, a high school classmate of Groshans.  They are, as it turns out, best friends who’d unrealistically fantasized about being selected by the same team. Beat writers quickly picked up on the backstory and it became the dominant narrative of their draft this year. Kloffenstein is a fringe first round talent who’d fell from what had been projected as a possible compensation round choice down the board as teams concluded, often with his input, that it would cost too much to sign him away from his college commitment.

For them, it would have. Implied in all this, though not admitted to by the parties or stated in so many words by the reporters, is that the three, the two players and the Jays, had come to an understanding that Grosahans would take an under-slot bonus which would, will, give the team flexibility to meet Kloffenstein’s number.A local paper reported it was all but certain he would sign and it defies reason that he would do so and his buddy wouldn’t. Conine isn’t in doubt, so the best of their selections seem to be a simple matter of paperwork. As it turned out, news broke Tuesday that this whole “narrative” was more than just journalistic license

The team announced that Groshans signed for $3.4m, saving the team about $00k on their bonus pool. In the same announcement they reported what had already been rumored, that Kloffenstein had agreed to $2.45m which is $1.8m over slot and that would have been unrealistic without the first round discount. Though you can’t trade (most) draft picks in MLB, the outcome here is as if the Jays traded down to a lower first round pick in order to advance their third round selection into the late first round. The two bonuses are near equivalents to the slot for the 18th and 27th selections which would both have been a realistic spot for the two to go, respectively.

After initial appearances in the Gulf Coast League, Conine is near certain to get a ticket to Vancouver where the team tends to place their college draftees. The other two, if one assumes the team will let them play and room together initially, will probably get most of their appearances at Bluefield.

Other players who got some buzz as being more than low-bonus organization filler are scattered through the list. Sam Wymer, a RHP in the 4th round, who’s one of those “tweeners” who can probably move quick as a reliever but has enough skills for the team to give him an initial try as a starter. Sixth round selection Addison Barger, a shortstop from the Tampa area, may be the 4th best guy in their group and is expected to sign. Various reviews have commented on 7th round 2B Nick Podkul, 8th round RHP Joey Murray, and 14th round 3B John Aiello. Team personnel praised 11th round CF Hunter Steinmetz as well. 

Others that have been mentioned in various reviews as worth watching include RHP Troy Watson (15th), Austin Havekost (17th), and Fritz Stadler (18th), and shortstop Vinny Capra (20th). There’s also the standard “guy who was supposed to go high but was impossible to sign but what the heck, we’ll take a flyer” guy in 36th round catcher Kameron Guangorena. It would be a massive coup to sign him but remember, Toronto took Kris Bryant once on a similar flyer, and Aaron Nola the next year. Don’t get your hopes up.

Finally, file under the heading “feel good story”, a few courtesy picks. RHP Cobi Johnson (30th) is the son of Jays coach Dane Johnson and has a sliver of a chance, Cole Beverlin in the 39th is also the offspring of a team employee, and their final selection was South Alabama SS Drew Labounty who’s career is already over after he fouled a ball into his own eye.

Postscript: As of this writing, Baseball American shows that the Jays have inked 21 out of their first 25 selections (Conine not among them and he seems a certain sign) and 26 out of 40 overall. Nine of the unsigned are 4th year college players though who tend to be relatively straightforward signings unless they’ve redshirted in the past and have a remaining year of eligibility (except, of course, Labounty which is not a financial question).


Welcome to All Heels on Deck!

 

This blog prioritizes women, non-white women and LGBTQ people who write about baseball.

If you have a pitch, suggestion or question please email heelsonthefield11@gmail.com

Follow AHOD on Twitter @allheelsondeck

Thank you.

https://youtu.be/ft7p9GTKzG0

 


Introducing "Lifer": Covering the Baseball Fan Lifestyle

Welcome to the first edition of Lifer by All Heels on Deck! Our team has been hard at work finding unique content that we can share with our readers, and we are so excited that Lifer is finally here! Baseball Lifer

The lifestyle of a baseball fan is a unique one. From ballpark food and MLB At Bat alerts, to sunny days and rain delays, each day is a new experience when it comes to baseball. Even though every baseball fan has a different lifestyle, we can all relate to each other’s stories.

Being a San Francisco Giants fan in New York City is definitely interesting. Only seeing the team play when they visit the Mets, and having to stay up beyond 1:00AM EST to watch the conclusion of games are just some of the struggles of being a fan located in the Big Apple. Wearing my Giants beanie in winter following the 98-loss season turned some heads in New York. But even at the lowest points, I wouldn’t trade that hat and my fandom.

My baseball lifestyle goes beyond being a fan of professional baseball, as I’ve been involved with Little League Baseball for as long as I can remember. Having siblings that play travel baseball means spending every weekend during the season in a different town, on a different ballfield for hours a day. The baseball lifestyle has been part of my life in many ways.

Lifer  is a column dedicated to the baseball fan lifestyle, featuring a variety of contributors, and will serve as a way for baseball fans to share experiences, recommendations, and connect. All aspects of the baseball fan lifestyle will be covered, including ballpark food, baseball apparel and merchandise, and team promotions that we consider interesting, and might peak your interest, too.

We're ready to connect with you, devoted baseball fans, over our shared baseball fan lifestyle!

 

~RoseAnn Sapia

 

 

Pop-Up Hot Spot

By: Karen Soutar

IMG_3240

 

 

You’ve heard of a pop-up shop, how about a pop-up kitchen? At the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, fans can find this unique variation on a popular trend.   For those looking for a change from more typical ballpark food, this adds variety. You can find this pop-up kitchen at Section 209 starting June 5th for every home game for the Jays’ regular season.

Fans have a choice:

Leading off, selections from Cherry Street Bar B Que. (June 5-July 13)Chopped Beef Brisket Sandwich, Double Play Sandwich (Pork & Beef), Pulled Pork Sandwich, Frito Pie and Veggie Frito Pie.

July 20-Aug 26 menu items from Mi Taco Taqueria will be available.

And Knuckle Sandwich from Sept 3-26.     IMG_3239

 

This is a great opportunity for the Jays to promote local businesses while offering hungry fans a greater variety of culinary options. It’s a win-win, so be sure to check it out if you are at the Rogers Centre.

 

Bon appetite!

 

 

 

 

The Baseball Gypsy

By: Kat Cornetta

Born with “a heart that craved travel,” Korrin Torres has certainly lived those words. The former Fox Sports producer, and wife of baseball player Nicholas Torres (Kansas City T-Birds of the American 

 Baseball), Torres has built a brand touting the life of The Baseball Gypsy https://www.thebaseballgypsy.com/), which includes a blog, YouTube channel and Instagram account. Baseball gypsy hat

Torres brand includes an eight piece collection,  such as baseball hats, at left. A highlight of the line is something for those with a love for '90s sitcom, “Friends” - a t-shirt with “Gypsy” written in the television show's iconic style. “This shirt tells the story of grinding through life with the help of the friends around us,” writes Torres. 

Baseball Gypsy FRIENDS

While The Baseball Gypsy brand centers on adventure and travel, Torres wants to inspire others to follow their own dreams. Torres also hopes to create a community for wanderers like her. “Through The Baseball Gypsy, my hope is to encourage others to go after what their heart wants,” says Torres on her site. 

 

 

 

 

Association of Fun With Bobbleheads: Potomac Nationals

By: RoseAnn Sapia

Potomac Nats

Of all the promotions baseball teams  create, bobbleheads giveaways  are always highly popular among fans of all ages. This season, the Potomac Nationals are once again getting creative with the fan favorite promotional items. The Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals is putting a fun spin on the tradition, and using this season’s bobbles to showcase unique qualities of their most recognizable alumni. These bobbleheads could even draw the attention of any baseball fan, even those that don’t rep the Nats, because of their creativity.

The Trea Turner Road Runner is one of my favorites in the collection, portraying the speed of the third-year shortstop. The Michael A. Tater bobble is everything you'd expect. Using Michael A. Taylor’s nickname, which is in fact Michael A. Tater, this bobblehead puts Taylor’s face on a potato. Perhaps the most coveted offering this season’s is the Bryce Harper “Real Slicked Back Hair” Bobblehead, distributed on Grease 40th Anniversary Night at the ballpark. That bobblehead features Bryce’s renowned show-hair styled like the T-Birds. Complete details can be found here. Image above can be opened as well.

 

Good Dogs and Baseball: Who Could Ask For Anything More?

By Helen Silfin

Minor League Baseball has always used promo nights to put a special spotlight on man’s best friend. Thunder Dog

The Trenton Thunder are in their own class, showcasing the work of three generations of good dogs since 2002. Chase was the first of the Thunder’s bat dogs, and his son Derby, and now Derby’s son, Rookie, succeeded him. Bat dog duties include retrieving players’ bats, as well as assisting with the pregame lineup exchange, and bringing water to umpires.

Like many sports and dog loving millennials, I grew up wishing Air Bud would play for my favorite team. This lineage of bat dogs might be as close as the real world will ever get to Air Bud, as they are all golden retrievers. Even though the bat dogs are not officially on the team’s roster, they make essential contributions to the game. The Thunder would simply not be the same without them.

Beyond the Thunder’s daily dose of dog, there are many other Minor League Baseball teams who celebrate furry friends throughout the season.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have embraced bat dogs themselves, and their recently retired buddy, Ollie, likes  visiting his old team.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels must be commended for how well and often they include man’s best friend in ballpark festivities. Their “Bark in the Park” Nights are rarely limited to dogs parading around the warning track or sitting in designated sections of the stands. Richmond’s upcoming dog-related promotions include a dog trick show (July 16) and dog festival with dog-related vendors (August 27).  They have also already had a dog-inclusive family portrait session and dog bowl giveaway this season.

Dogs have even made their way into the hands of baseball card collectors thanks to some creative promotions. The Albuquerque Isotopes gave away a set of cards featuring players posing with a selection of special rescue pups. Similarly, the Lowell Spinners gave away a card set featuring 20 Spinners-loving dogs last season. Thunder Dog

Dog promotions are definitely on the upswing throughout Minor League Baseball. Between Bark in the Park and bat dogs, pretty soon puppers are going to be the top dogs associated with baseball, not hot dogs.

 

 

 

Lifer artwork by Helen Silfin