Bat Fetch 

Here’s one that will get your mind off the divisions and conflicts of the day in the best possible way.  Combine baseball and dogs, two very fine things, and you have this great 14-minute story about three generations of golden retrievers who retrieved bats, like a bat-boy only with more fur and with four-on-the-floor, for the Trenton (New Jersey) Thunder, the AA New York Yankees’ farm team in the Eastern League.

The story is told by Derby, the middle golden between Chase and Rookie. It would take a heart harder than a Nolan Ryan fastball not to be entertained and moved by it.

I never played pro ball, though I would have loved to. Alas, my love of the game always exceeded my talent for it. But I did play amateur ball for years. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to a bat with pine tar on one end and dog slobber on the other. But for these charmers I’m sure I, and my teammates, would have happily accommodated any inconvenience. A game so intense with tobacco juice could surely come to terms with dog slobber, a much less offensive substance.

I’ve not gotten to see these guys in action in person. But I hope that I can conspire to fetch up in Trenton some summer evening while Rookie is still on the roster. I’m sure he’s refined his game from the rookie mistakes you see on this clip. But no matter how well he gets the fundamentals down, I doubt he’ll ever make the bigs. The Yankees are way too stuffy, self-important, and hair-averse to allow something as totally delightful but slightly off-plumb as this.

 Rookie’s message to all Thunder fans who come to the games is: Sit. Stay. Have fun.

Larry Thornberry
Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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