Saturday, August 12, 2006

"Trenton's four-legged batboy," New Jersey, August 2006

"Trenton's four-legged batboy," New Jersey, August 2006

Whenever I go see the minor-league Trenton Thunder, I can't help myself -- no matter how many similar pictures I have of Chase, That Golden Thunder, retrieving one of the player's bats in the first inning, I have to take more.

The dog is owned by the team and lives with one of the front-office employees. A handler sits with him next to the Thunder dugout during the bottom of the first, sending him out to the plate to retreive the wood after an at-bat. Each time, Chase sniffs and rolls the bat, often needing two or three attempts before finding both a balance between the weight of the heavier barrel and lighter handle and a section with not too much pine tar. Overall, the process, in the end, probably takes longer for the four-legged batboy than it does the two-legged one who handles the rest of the game, but the fans get a kick out of it.

After the first inning, Chase disappears until the sixth, when he emerges with his handler to run down frisbees in right field. It's tied to a promotion, where a fan earns money for each catch -- either $5 per snag, or increasing $5 increments for each one.

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