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Tag: minor league

Miss Babe Ruth retiring after nine years as “bat dog” for the Greensboro Grasshoppers


Miss Babe Ruth, the 9-year-old Lab who has retrieved more than 5,000 bats as the official bat dog of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, is retiring this week.

She’ll be around for the rest of the season, but will retrieve her last bat in Wednesday’s home game against the visiting Durham Bulls, according to the Charlotte Observer.

After her full retirement, she’ll be replaced by a new bat dog, Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, but team members will still have her teeth marks — left on many a bat — to remember her by.

Miss Babe has been the bat and ball dog of the Grasshoppers since 2006. She delivers a bucket of baseballs to the umpire in the first and fifth innings, retrieves Grasshopper bats in the third inning and runs the bases when the game is over.

Her Wednesday appearance will be her 649th consecutive home game in a career that saw her deliver about 4,000 balls, retrieve 5,000 bats, and gain national media exposure.

She has generated more than $200,000 in sponsorship fees since her first game on Aug. 2, 2006, has her own “Babe’s Buddies” fan club, and has a burger named after her at the concession stand.

“She loves it. She gets excited when the crowd gets excited,” said Grasshoppers President Donald Moore.

A retirement party was held for her at Saturday night’s game, where she received a key to the city from Mayor Nancy Vaughan and walked down a red carpet from the pitcher’s mound to home plate to deliver the game ball to the umpire.

Both Miss Lou Lou Gehrig and Master Yogi Berra, both related to Miss Babe, are also fixtures at the Grasshopper’s downtown stadium. Moore brings all three along on game days.

Grasshoppers manager Kevin Randel said the players enjoy their canine teammates: “The only knock on it is they get little teeth marks on the bats.”

Babe’s designated successor, Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, is owned by Moore’s son, Donald Moore Jr. Lou Lou is already adept at fetching bats and delivering balls. “She’s perfectly capable of taking over from Babe,” Moore said.

Miss Babe Ruth’s legacy will live on after she retires. Her ball bucket will go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

(Photo by Jack Horan / Charlotte Observer)

Decisions, decisions

Dog park or ball park?

Ace and other Winston-Salem area dogs have at least two entertainment options to choose from this Sunday, and unfortunately they overlap.

Tanglewoof,” the long-awaited, much delayed dog park at Tanglewood holds its grand opening Sunday — around the same time that the Winston-Salem Dash has its first “Pups in the Park” baseball game of the season.

What’s a dog to do?

The Tanglewood event kicks off with a blessing of the dogs at 12:45 p.m., followed by an afternoon of presentations on doggie topics ranging from health to agility training.

From 1 to 5 p.m., there will be presentations every 30 minutes, along with vendors offering food and more. Admission is free, but organizers are asking people to bring a donation of food, kitty litter, paper towels or bleach for the Forsyth or Davie humane societies.

The three-acre park, which features small and large dog areas, was built with donations from businesses and private donors. The village of Clemmons pitched in more than $9,000 for plumbing and Forsyth County donated the land in Tanglewood Park. Money was also raised through earlier dog-friendly baseball games held by the Dash.

The minor league team’s first “Pups in Park”  game this season is Sunday at 2 p.m. It’s one of three listed on this year’s schedule. (The other two are June 9 and Aug. 25.)

Pooch passes must be purchased in advance, and written proof of rabies vaccinations are required. (For more information, contact Sarah Baumann at 336-714-6878 or email

Why we like the minor leagues …

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.

In happier dog-related sports news …

barkintheparkWith Michael Vick’s return to the NFL this week, and all the bitter and sickening emotions it evoked, I thought we could use some slightly more upbeat and dog-friendly sports news:  

More than 700 dogs and their owners showed up for the Brooklyn Cyclones “Bark in the Park” Game.

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and the Brooklyn Cyclones hosted “Bark in the Park” on Wednesday — an event that drew more than 6,000 guests at KeySpan Park, where the Cyclones fell to the Vermont Lake Monsters.

But it was still a victory — eight dogs from Animal Care & Control of NYC and Animal Haven were successfully adopted to new homes.

In addition, many pet-owners took advantage of the low-cost microchipping services held the day of the event.  “Maddie,” the 6-foot not-so-miniature schnauzer mascot for Maddie’s Fund,  entertained the families and the Cyclone’s players.

“Wednesday night’s event drew more fans that brought their dogs than the previous two years, so it appears that the event is growing. We can’t wait to enhance the event next year in conjunction with the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 10th anniversary,” said Steve Gruber, communications director of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by the pet rescue foundation, Maddie’s Fund,  is a coalition of more than 160 animal rescue groups and shelters that are working with the city of New York to find homes for dogs and cats.

(Photo by Rick Edwards, courtesy of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals)

Allentown IronPigs missing their Champ

Champ, a mutt who is a familiar face to fans of the IronPigs, a minor league baseball team, is still missing after bolting during Friday’s fireworks display at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

Champ belongs to Janine Kurpiel, the merchandise director of the team’s Majestic Clubhouse store, and he accompanies her to work each day. The IronPigs are a Phillies AAA affiliate.

The search has inspired many people to help, including Kurpiel’s mother, Barb, who drove all Friday night from Detroit, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Ironically, the paper reports, the Phillies World Series trophy played a role in Champ’s getaway.

The gates opened several hours before Friday’s 7 p.m. game, so fans could pose for pictures with the trophy — an event that required Kurpiel’s presence. Grounds crew members offered to look after Champ in their office. But someone opened the door as the post-game fireworks began and a frightened Champ ran off.

Champ is a 4 1/2-year-old German shepherd mix, between 40 and 55 pounds. He’s brown with some black on his back, and he was wearing a purple collar. Anyone who has seen a stray dog resembling Champ in the Allentown area is asked to call Janine Kurpiel at 610-554-0474.