Image credit: The Thunder's new batdog Dash (Photo by Trenton Thunder)
Before the shroud of the novel coronavirus descended upon the sports world and flattened everything in its path, the Trenton Thunder unveiled a small, golden ray of sunshine. His name is Dash, and he’s the next in line to take the reins of the team’s iconic series of batdogs.
The tradition started in 2002 with Chase That Golden Thunder, who dazzled fans and delighted onlookers with his tried and true trots to and from home plate. Home Run Derby debuted in 2008, followed by Rookie, who began batdogging in 2015.
While those three traced a direct family line—Derby was Chase’s son and Rookie is Chase’s grandson—Dash is Rookie’s cousin, and was part of a litter of nine puppies that included five boys and four girls.
“(Chief Operating Officer) Jeff (Hurley) and (Senior VP) Eric (Lipsman) had some informal conversations over the last couple of years about when to do it … I heard about it for the first time right after the (2019) championship season ended. At some point then, in early or mid-October, word had filtered out that a puppy was (possibly) in the works,” said Thunder media relations coordinator Jon Mozes. “He arrived right around Christmas, Dec. 22 I think is the day.
“(Lipsman) got to see him three or four times, he spent some time with the litter and they landed on Dash.”
Chosen through an online voting contest, the name Dash “was the runaway winner,” according to Mozes. The other finalists were Scout, Bronx, Dug and Ace.
So far, there’s not much for little Dash to do, but he’s still found time to become the star of his own introductory press conference and do his part to make work a little less productive but a lot more adorable for the staff in the Thunder’s front office.
“He’s just the best, man” said Mozes, stating the obvious.
With the season delayed indefinitely because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dash won’t get to make his first in-game experiences as early as expected. Instead, he’ll stay home with Lipsman, pal around with Rookie and grow into an even bigger ball of fluff.
And although his debut is on hold for a while, Dash will be ready to put much-needed smiles on fans’ faces during the dog days of summer.