Chase the bat dog has passed away

The news seemed inevitable when you hear about a sick dog in his teen years.

In dog years, he was 91, each year lived to the fullest. His career was full of pats on the head and enthusiastic trots toward home plate. And his retirement ceremony last week perfectly embodied his life.

Chase-That Golden Thunder (his full name) finally succumbed to leukemia today, leaving the Trenton Thunder's bat dog duties to his son, "Home Run" Derby, and some day, presumably his grandson, Chief.

Minor league baseball features so few mainstays, but Chase was certainly one of them. His life gave way to a new generation of bat-dogging, as his other son Oliver has taken the same position with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

If all dogs go to heaven, Chase is fetching bats in Iowa.