Tag: major league
On an August night 16 years ago, Chicago White Sox fans were given the unprecedented privilege of bringing their dogs to a baseball game.
Five hundred seats in the bleachers were set aside for fans with dogs. A “doggy comfort area” was set up with sod, fake fire hydrants, and water stations. Vendors with dog treats patroled the area, and the Humane Society was invited to bring along and feature some adoptable pets.
That — the first “Dog Days of Summer” promotion at New Comiskey Park — sold out, as it would every year during the reign of Rob Gallas, former senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting for the Sox.
In a comprehensive article on dogs and baseball on ESPN.com, Gallas credits the “great creative department” he had with coming up with the idea, which stemmed from the fact there was a kennel at New Comiskey, where fans could lodge their dogs during the game.
“We thought, ‘How about if we allowed fans to bring their dogs out to a game?’” said Gallas, now the vice president and chief marketing officer of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
This season, 16 major league teams are hosting dog days, with some holding multiple events. The Pittsburgh Pirates lead the pack, with eight Pup Nights at PNC Park .
Major as it is becoming in the major leagues, inviting dogs to the ball park have become even more of an institution in the minor leauges, with nearly 50 teams having dog-friendly promotions this season.
While the major leagues take credit for doing it first, the concept was most supported, refined and popularized in the minor leagues. (We’d suggest dog-loving fans and humane societies probably did their fair share of pushing, too.)
The Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino, Calif., hold “Man’s Best Friend Mondays.” The Greensboro Grasshoppers hold two ”Bark in the Park” games, and the neighboring Winston-Salem Dash are having five “Pups in the Park” games this season. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs hold two ”Dog Days at the Park.” In Albuquerque Isotopes hold “Bark in the Park,” and the Jupiter (Fla.) Hammerheads have the “Dog Days of Summer.”
In Colorado Springs, where the Sky Sox have hosted Bark in the Park since the late ’90s, and up to 250 dogs can be accommodated in a grassy area down the left-field line, says Jon Eddy, the team’s director of marketing and promotions.
“Frankly, what amazes me is, as a pet owner my entire life, how incredibly well-behaved these pets are on a consistent basis,” said Eddy.
Meanwhile, back in the majors, while the White Sox got the ball rolling, the Cubs still haven’t caught on. Wrigley Field doesn’t allow dogs, (although there is a dog park not far away, called Wiggly Field).
After the White Sox first allowed dogs in 1996, the Montreal Expos followed, in 1998. A year later the Minnesota Twins invited dogs into the Metrodome. Today, The Cleveland Indians have Puppypalooza. The St. Louis Cardinals have Pooches in the Ballpark. The Kansas City Royals have Bark at the K.
At San Diego’s Petco Park, where the Padres play, up to 500 dogs can be accommodated in the annual Dog Days of Summer promotion that includes a pregame “tail” gate party.
And in Oakland, the Athletics’ Dog Day at the Park attracted about 750 dogs — an unofficial record for a major league game.
As the ESPN article concludes, “Baseball is just better with a friend, even a furry one.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bark in the park, baseball, chicago white sox, dog days of summer, dogs, dogs and baseball, dogs in the park, greensboro grasshoppers, major league, major league baseball, minor league, pets, promotions, pups in the park, rob gallas, winston salem dash
Ace and I finally got around to doing one of the things that was on our to-do list during our travels — attend a Minor League baseball game.
Across America, dog-friendly baseball games are growing more popular. For several years, many Minor League teams have been sponsoring them, and the big leagues are starting to catch on. At least 15 Major League ballparks are holding dog-friendly games this season.
Just 30 minutes down the road, in downtown Greensboro, the stadium was a gem, the traffic was non-existent and parking was plentiful (and only $3).
Those are some of the reasons I find Minor League baseball so much more of a pleasure: The prices, for tickets or concessions, aren’t exorbitant. The crowds aren’t huge. The fans aren’t obnoxious. It’s just much more laid back.
On Tuesday night, the tickets were $6 each, and a “pooch pass” ran $3. Beers were $1, hot dogs, too. There was no extra charge for the sunset.
Everybody seemed happy, at least on Natty Hill, the grassy knoll in left field set aside for fans bringing their dogs.
What I liked best about it was seeing so many people bonding with their dogs, and bonding with other people’s dogs, and bonding with other dog’s people.
Minor League baseball, particularly on dog nights, offers a sense of community — something that seems to be fading away in America. We’re more connected than ever, thanks to gadgetry, but somehow more insulated, too. We’re “communicating” more than ever, but not saying much at all.
The Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Bowie Baysox, or the Toledo Mud Hens (and we’ve got to mention the Reno Aces) may not be the solution to that, but it’s nice to have a venue where you can look a person in the eye and exchange words.
Or, if you prefer, spend some time quietly connecting with your dog.
Either way, the dog’s there for you — whether you want to meditate or congregate.
In my book, when it comes to being social, a dog is much better than a BlackBerry or cell phone, Facebook or Twitter or Match.com — for the connection you make with a dog is much more clear and pure and genuine.
If dog nights at the ballpark weren’t already win-win enough, they also raise money for local shelters and rescues. All “pooch pass” fees at the Grasshoppers’ Tuesday night game went to Red Dog Farm, an animal rescue network based in Greensboro.
The Grasshoppers were holding two dog-friendly games a season, but this year dropped down to one.
We missed out on the pre-game doggie festivities, as Ace felt the need to make his mark on the streets of downtown Greensboro. Even though parking was right across the street, it took us more than 20 minutes, with his frequent stops, to get to the gate.
One inside the stadium, he stopped to meet some of the adoptable dogs Red Dog Farm had brought to the game. At first he had to check out every dog he encountered — and there had to be over 100 at the game — but eventually he became more selective.
Sitting on a grassy hill in left field — filled with people and dogs — proved a little problematic for him, as he kept sliding down. But we spent most of the time wandering around — me hydrating on $1 beers, Ace patronizing the many bowls of water placed about.
One red bucket in particular intrigued him. He thought he saw something at the bottom of it, and repeatedly submerged his entire head in it, not realizing all he was seeing was the raised surface at the bottom of the bucket.
A crowd gathered to watch and take pictures.
During nine innings of baseball, I answered the question, “What kind of dog is that?” 36 times; the question of how much he weighs at least a dozen; the question of how he got his head all wet about 10.
Back on our blanket on the hill, we enjoyed a sunset on one end of the stadium and, as the game came to an end, watched the moon rise like a pop fly over the other.
We’ll close with a baseball trivia question: Who was the first canine ever ejected from a baseball game?
Answer: Yogi Berra, a mascot for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. He was showing his ball retrieving skills between innings in a 2009 game (despite a stomach virus) when he stopped for a bowel movement on the field (an event noted in news reports and memorialized on YouTube). The home plate umpire, apparently offended by the act, ordered him ejected.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, allow, allowed, america, ball park, ballpark, bark in the park, baseball, bonding, communicating, community, connecting, dog friendly, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, events, grasshoppers, greensboro, insular, insulated, major league, minor league, north carolina, road trip, social, socializing, society, sports, stadiums, teams, travels with ace, winston salem dash, yogi berra
Tillman, the California bulldog who has been recognized as the world’s fastest skateboarding canine, is visiting New York for Saturday’s “Bark in the Park” — an event where Mets fans can attend a game with their dog.
“He loves New York,” Tillman’s owner, 40-year-old Ron Davis told the Daily News as the bulldog showed off his skills in Tompkins Square Park. “There is a lot of concrete for him to do his thing.”
The four-year-old, 60-pound English bulldog — deemed the fastest skateboarding dog by the Guinness Book of World Records — set the world record in 2009 by rolling 100 meters in 19.6 seconds.
He’s named after the late NFL star and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
The fast-rolling bulldog will be among the canines attending the Bark in the Park game at Citi Field, in which the Mets play the Atlanta Braves.
For the event — the successor to “Dog Day at Shea” — the Mets set a limit of 500 dogs, and doggie tickets usually sell out quickly. Human tickets are $40 and doggy tickets are $10.
Profits from the sale of dog tickets and a portion of the human ticket benefit the North Shore Animal League.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bark in the park, baseball, bulldog, dog, dog day at shea, english bulldog, major league, new york, new york mets, news, pets, skateboard, skateboarding, tillman, video
Unlike the Minnesota Twins, and all those other Major League teams that don’t generally allow dogs in the ballpark, the Minor League has a little more laid back attitude.
On top of being more likely to have “dog days,” some minor league teams actually help find dogs homes.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals showcased this seven-month-old beagle mix, named Mona, as an “Iams Adoptable Pet of the Game.” More importantly, when Mona did what comes natural on the field, everyone took it in stride.
Mona went on to find a “forever” home when she was adopted from the Springdale Animal Shelter. Her appearance also led another family who was interested in Mona — but who stood second in line — to adopt two other dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adoptable pet of the game, animals, ballparks, baseball, dogs, field, iams, major league, minnesota twins, minor league, mona, news, northwest arkansas naturals, ohmidog!, pets, pooping, poops, springdale animal shelter, video