Wednesday, the Trenton Thunder — minor league baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees — announced the winner of the team’s contest to name the new bat dog: Rookie! Aww, look how cute.
The Thunder have had a bat dog since 2002, when Chase That Golden Thunder became the team's official fetcher of bats and balls. (Chase generally only worked the first inning.) In 2013, Derby — Chase's son — took over the duties for the ailing Chase. The original bat dog, Chase, died last July of blood cancer.
The future bat dog, Rookie, is Derby's son and was born in Levittown. His name was chosen from a list of eight names—chosen from a group of 1,164 names fans submitted. It beat out (in order) Parker, Slugger, Slider, Scooter, Thor, Ace and Mo. Chase — and the second of Derby's puppies, a female — recently had their first (adorable) physical.
"With all the young players that pass through Arm & Hammer Park each year, it's only fitting that we have a 'Rookie' here to fetch their bats," Thunder General Manager Will Smith said on the team's website. ("You know parents are the same no matter time nor place, they don't understand that us kids are gonna make some mistakes," he should have added to take some pressure off the pup Rookie—but he did not.)
The Thunder's home opener is Thursday, April 3.