Although baseball legend Alex Rodriguez gets a lot of attention wherever he goes, it was a Golden Retriever who upstaged him Wednesday and has the Internet collectively saying, “Awww!”
Rookie — one of the bat dogs for New Jersey’s Trenton Thunder — was doing what he does best during the minors game that Rodriguez was playing in as part of his two-game rehab for a strained hamstring. And when the ball player saw him, he did what many dog-loving social media enthusiasts would do: He tweeted it.
“Hey, can I have my bat back?” posted the baseball star.
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) May 25, 2016
The post quickly became one A-rod’s most retweeted and liked tweets, with more than 1,400 retweets and more than 2,300 likes so far.
Rookie shares the field with his “pawp” Derby, working the first two innings of Thunder home games before a bat boy comes in and relieves the pups, according to the New York Daily News. At the end of the game, when the team goes on the road and during the offseason, the dogs go home with Eric Lipsman, the Thunder’s senior VP for Corporate Sales and Partnerships.
The bat dogs have been a staple of the Double-A team since 2002.
“When Chase (Derby’s dad and the first team dog) passed away in 2013 we saw that Derby was totally alone,” Lipsman told the Daily News. “He had never known life without having another dog with him — he had always had Chase — and then we bred Derby and in Dec. 2013 Rookie was born and we now have the two.”
Always professional, the dogs reportedly are able pick up the bats without gnawing them.
“Golden Retrievers are very soft-mouthed dogs, which is why they are just perfect and ideal for this,” Lipsman explained to the news outlet. “They grip it and they never, ever leave teeth marks in the bat.”
Lipsman said there is one thing the dogs are not fans of: The taste of pine tar, which players occasionally use on bats.
“Poor Derby, (Wednesday) night, the bat he tried to retrieve before A-Rod came up, he picked it up- dropped it, picked it up- dropped it and that’s because it was loaded with pine tar,” Lipsman told the Daily News. “And there are times when Derby will not even pick the bat up, he’ll taste it and go on without it. When that happens, the regular bat boy has to go out and get it.”
Lipsman said that the Thunder hasn’t had a player who is afraid of dogs, but there have been a few who were allergic to them.
For the most part, Lipsman says, players enjoy the “dogs of summer.”
“We have had guys come in and absolutely flip out and be totally thrilled that we have a dog,” he said. “It just makes them feel like they’re home. They’re away from home for six months and they miss their dogs so they hang out with Derby or Rookie.”