Bat dog

Bat Dog… a beautiful story told from a dog’s perspective. A dog who watched his father become a legend, and watched his own child continue the family tradition.


A beloved baseball dog called Derby finds his voice to tell the story of his family legacy as the “bat dog” in an ESPN special.

“Call me a hopeless romantic but there’s nothing better than opening day. Probably because it reminds me of dad,” Derby says, though the voice over provided by Disney Pixar director Bob Peterson, who also was the vocals behind “Dug” in the 2009 film “Up.”

“Like many of you I’m sure, it was my dad who taught me to love the game. For some it’s the sight of the ballpark. For others it’s the crack of the bat. For me it’s really the smells that bring me back. Fresh cut grass, popcorn at the concession stand, the leather cover of a baseball you just want to chew on forever and ever.”

The ESPN feature tells the story of Derby, who continues to carry on the bat-retrieving legacy started by his father Chase with the Trenton Thunder, a minor league affiliate of the Yankees.

Chase carried bats for Trenton Thunder players from 2002 until he retired in 2012. He died the following year. The feature recounts the family tree that includes Derby’s son Rookie, who now works the Thunder games with his dad.

“The goal was to entertain the fans,” Senior Vice President of Marketing for Trenton Thunder Eric Lipsman, who “hired” Chase, said in the video. “Fans went crazy over him.”

When Chase was introduced to female golden retriever Cinderella, Derby was born and the next generation of the bat dog carried on.

Derby had been training five days a week to follow in his father’s footsteps who was invited to Yankee Stadium, “finally making it to the big leagues,” as Derby put it in the video. Chase’s death in 2013 followed soon after an on-field retirement party at the Thunder ballpark.

“It’s hard. He’s part of the image around here and he made the legacy you know?” Fred Lewis, Trenton Thunder pitcher, said of Chase.

After losing his father, the storyline of the E:60 special recounts how Derby was lonely and depressed until he met female golden retriever Reba who he started a family with, birthing Chase’s grandson Rookie.

Rookie now is following in Derby’s path as “bat dog” and the two can be seen side-by-side around the Thunder stadium every game.

“My dad once told me about a wise player named Yogi (Berra) who said ‘love is the most important thing in the world but baseball is pretty good too,'” Derby says in the special.

“I’ve never forgotten that, it’s what I’ve tried to teach my son.”

“That’s what great about baseball… the names and the faces change, sure, but as long as there are fathers and sons… the love for the game will live forever.”

Watch the movie video below (but get the tissues ready):

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Sources: Youtube | ESPN

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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