Since 2002 a golden retriever named Chase has been the official bat dog of the Trenton Thunder. After over a decade of service Chase took one last step out onto the field on Friday. Suffering from blood cancer Chase is retiring and a big ceremony was held for the beloved dog.
The Double-A Trenton Thunder got the idea to have a bat dog from Jake the Diamond Dog, who is a traveling bat dog and had visited their ballpark a few times. Chase was brought on in 2002 and became the first bat dogs to fetch exclusively for a Minor League Baseball team. He spent a year or so learning from Jake and before taking on the position as the Trenton Thunder’s bat dog.
While Chase’ main role was fetching bats, he also brought a lot of smiles and entertainment to the fans. Chase’s career has been impressive. He has been featured on local, national and international television. He is also the first dog to be on the field at Yankee Stadium. Most importantly he has captured the hearts of fans and players.
In February the 13-year-old golden retriever was diagnosed with lymphoma and it has prevented him from fetching any bats this year. In his absence his 5-year-old son Derby has taken over the role of bat dog.
On Friday night Chase was honored at the Trenton Thunder’s game with a retirement and birthday celebration. Even though it was an extremely hot night fans lined up to see the beloved bat dog one more time.
“I’m actually happy and surprised, and when I saw so many people in line tonight I said, ‘You came out in the heat?’” said Trenton Thunder senior vice president of corporate sales Eric Lipsman, who also is Chase’s owner. “And they said, ‘Yeah, we’re big fans of Chase!’ And that just meant the world to me.”
The first 2,000 fans at the game received a special Chase bobblehead and fans were also encouraged to bring their dogs to the game to help celebrate.
In addition to Chase’s son Derby being in attendance, Derby’s 2-year-old puppy Chief was also in attendance wearing a “Happy Birthday Grandpa” bandana. During the ceremony a tribute video was played highlighting Chase’s career. The greatest part for Chase though was probably just being out on the field one more time.
“He lived for this,” said Lipsman. “He just absolutely loved to be out there on the field.”