When you think of dogs and sports, you probably go back to the popular Air Bud series. There was the original Air Bud (basketball), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (football) , Air Bud: World Pup (soccer), Air Bud Spikes Back (volleyball), and Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (baseball).
Rookie, the bat dog for the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, might just be the closest thing to Air Bud. While he might not be the natural baseball player that Air Bud was; he certainly knows how to fetch.
Rookie received a promotion up to the Yankees Triple-A squad, the Scranton- Wilkes/Barre RailRiders for a game against the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles).
The golden retriever’s job is to, well, retrieve bats from the RailRiders s after they finish their at-bats. There was only one problem: instead of fetching baseball bats, Rookie’s canine instincts kicked in and went after the baseball, not the actual bat of Yankees prospect Mason Williams.
After the umpire threw a new ball back to Tides pitch Alec Asher, Rookie couldn’t help but chase down the ball. He completely disregarded the bat, and took off charging the mound as if he was just hit by a pitch. Asher, overcome with cuteness from the pup, couldn’t help himself and caved in by handing the ball over to Rookie. The retriever began walking away from the mound, but noticed the umpire giving a new ball to Asher, which of course drew Rookie’s attention once again. In typical dog fashion, Rookie dropped the original ball and decided he wanted the newer one, to which Asher obliged.
Rookie comes from quite the family, as his grandpa Chase worked the field for 11 years serving as the Thunder bat boy starting back in 2002, according to the Trenton Thunder’s website. Rookie’s dad, Derby, is the current bat dog of the team. Derby had the night off, but was still in attendance as he watched his son in action. Derby shouldn’t worry too about his son possibly dethroning him anytime soon, as Rookie is still only a rookie – he only works the first inning of games. The three decades of dogs even appeared on an episode of E:60!
Rookie better watch out, as it seems his sister, Mickey, has picked up on his thieving antics.
Rookie is still learning on the job, or “perfecting his craft” as stated on the team website. But given the strong family genes, we’ll give the three-year-old the benefit of the doubt that he’ll adapt just fine. You only had one job, Rookie, but you’re still a damn good pup.
(h/t to Conor Foley of The Times-Tribune in Scranton @RailRidersTT)