Every good minor league baseball team needs a solid bat dog, and it looks like the Trenton Thunder have upped the ante in naming a painfully cute Golden Retriever puppy as their own. Ladies and gentlemen, the Rookie era has begun:
Trenton Thunder fans have been voting what to name the little guy for three weeks now, submitting more than 1,100 different prospective names. “Rookie” ultimately beat out names like “(Inside The) Parker,” “Scooter,” and “Thor.” Given Rookie’s lineage—his father was bat dog Derby, and his grandfather was the original bat dog, Chase—none of those names fit super well, so good on you, New Jerseyans.
So what exactly will the team’s newest bat dog be doing this season? Mostly showing up to games, delighting fans, and making an adorable show out of an otherwise not-very-adorable sport. Besides that, though, bat dogs actually are expected to fetch bats when called upon. And, luckily, Rookie seems to be the right dog for the job following his granddad’s retirement and eventual death last year.
Trained by Shelley’s School for Dogs in Millstone, NJ, Rookie will receive the best bat dog training available today—state of the art, to be sure. That Arm & Hammer sponsorship probably doesn’t hurt either—just like with dad.
“With all the young players that pass through Arm & Hammer Park each year, it’s only fitting that we have a ‘Rookie’ here to fetch their bats,” Thunder GM Will Smith told MILB. “The interaction we had with the fans throughout the naming process was outstanding and there’s no doubt that everyone is excited about Rookie becoming part of the Thunder experience.”
Looking at the little guy, who can blame them? And they’ve only got to wait until April 3 to enjoy the show.