A lot of major and minor league teams have “Bark at the Park” days or some other branded promotion in which they allow fans to bring dogs to the game. They may happen one or two times a year. Maybe someone does it monthly. I have no idea.
I don’t believe, however, that any team has ever allowed dogs at the ballpark for every single game. But there is one now: the Indians affiliate in the Carolina League, the Lynchburg Hillcats. The announced a wide-ranging partnership with the local Humane Society. But it extends beyond fund raisers and banners:
Along with the partnership, City Stadium will become a dog-friendly ballpark throughout the 2017 season, meaning Hillcats fans can bring their canines to all home games.
“As far as I know, we will be the first 100-percent dog-friendly ballpark for an entire season,” said Jones. “Virtually every team holds a ‘Bark in the Park’ Day at this point, and they are extremely popular with fans. In past years, the Hillcats have hosted more than one of these in the same season, which caused us as a staff to ask why we couldn’t do it more. Expanding ‘Bark in the Park’ to every home game seemed like a fun way to help grow awareness and signify this partnership with the Lynchburg Humane Society.”
Good for the dogs. Dogs enjoy everything. You could take them to a bad opera and they’d thank you. You could take them to your tax audit and they’d be so excited they couldn’t stand it. As such, taking them someplace fun like a baseball game is a wonderful treat.
Still, I really wish Lynchburg would do a more name-appropriate thing and make every day a cat-friendly day at the ballpark.
[Craig looks around his living room and sees four cats destroying things, licking their butts and then looking up at him with sheer and utter disdain]
Hurm. On second thought, let’s just leave the ballpark for the dogs, OK?
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.
The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.
Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.
Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.
UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: