Dog Twitter: Baseball Poodle attends minor league ballgame No. 100

Some of Baseball Poodle's adventures traveling around minor league baseball stadiums throughout the Southeast. Photos by BP Dad Phil
Some of Baseball Poodle's adventures traveling around minor league baseball stadiums throughout the Southeast. Photos by BP Dad Phil /

One of the foremost sports dogs among the Dogs of Twitter is Baseball Poodle (@BaseballPoodle), who is, as the handle implies, a Poodle from “the land of Spring Training,” and he loves the game called the National Pastime.

In fact, he recently crossed an impressive milestone for any minor league baseball fan, attending his 100th game as a fan several weeks ago. This has covered at least 11 teams across the American and National Leagues, the Southern League, and the Florida State League, and now with the recent 2021 minor league reorganization, the Triple-A East and Low-A Southeast.

And while today two MLB teams call the Sunshine State home in the Miami (originally Florida) Marlins and Holland the Pup‘s Tampa Bay Rays, for many years throughout the game’s history the big league ball clubs only played in Florida during Spring Training, meaning that minor league teams were the only way to see ballplayers on the diamond during the summer.

These minor league organizations have adapted to becoming local entertainment while developing players for the big league teams, which often include batdogs like our friend Rookie, fun Bark in the Park Nights and Dogs and Kids Run the Bases. We still think that MLB batdogs need to become a thing, though.

Baseball Poodle talked with Dog O’Day not long ago via email about how he got into the game and what his favorite sports memories are.

Baseball Poodle attended his 100th game as a fan at the ballpark.

Dog O’Day – How did you get into following baseball, and when did you attend your first game?

Baseball Poodle – My dad went to his first minor league baseball game in 2017 and was really impressed.  It’s a much different experience than a major league game, a whole different atmosphere.  It’s more casual, less crowded, and less expensive.  He was already planning to attend more games when he found out about “Bark in the Park” games, where you can bring your dog.  He thought the idea of going to a pro baseball game and taking your dog seemed surreal, almost too good to be true!

Two weeks later we went to our first game, and had a fantastic time.  I got to sit in the front row behind home plate.  Batters in the on-deck circle noticed me.  And after the game, they even let the dogs and their owners run the bases!  It was the best time ever. That team wasn’t planning any more dog-friendly games that season, so my dad started looking for games elsewhere in the league.  By the time our first season was over, we had been to sixteen baseball games in twelve different stadiums around Florida. We mostly went to minor league games but took in a Tampa Bay Rays game and Miami Marlins game too.  We had ourselves a new obsession!

I liked it because I got to see the other dogs there, and also got to get my photo taken with some of the players before the games.  Plus, there are lots of good smells at a ballpark that dogs find fascinating, like hot dogs, pizza, and popcorn.  Of course, I also enjoy a well-turned double play or a good squeeze bunt!

Which teams have you seen at their home ballparks?

Baseball Poodle – The minor league teams I’ve seen host games are the Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia Phillies affiliate), Tampa Tarpons (New York Yankees), Dunedin Blue Jays (Holland’s Toronto Blue Jays), Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh Pirates), Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit Tigers), Fort Myers Miracle/Mighty Mussels (Minnesota Twins), Saint Lucie Mets (New York Mets), Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins), and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins).  Also, two teams that don’t exist any more – the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays) and Florida Fire Frogs (Atlanta Braves).

What should humans look for the next time they’re watching a game, if they’re only casual fans, in order to become more invested?

Baseball Poodle – One of the “games within the game” is how pitchers work to throw off the batter’s timing or get him to swing at pitches he shouldn’t.  A pitcher might throw several pitches in a row with each one just slightly further away from the batter than the previous one.  Since batters have to make their decision about whether to swing or not in a split second, making each pitch just a little further away can induce the batter to swing at a pitch he shouldn’t – one the umpire would’ve called a ball instead of a strike.

Pitchers also work to fool batters with regard to how fast a pitch is actually moving.  When something moves across our field of vision, it’s easy to see how fast it’s going, but when something is coming straight at our eyes, it’s much harder to tell.  So a pitcher might try to fool a hitter by first throwing a fastball “up and in” (near their eyes), followed by a slower pitch “low and away”.  The batter naturally adjusts his timing to the fastball.  When the slower pitch comes, it seems at first to be moving as fast as the previous pitch was, because it’s aimed further from his eyes; traveling more across his field of vision.  Only as the ball gets close does the batter realize that it’s going slower than it first seemed and by that point, his timing is off and he has swung too early.  This trick can be done in the opposite order as well.

Coolest sports memory?

Baseball Poodle – I was there at Marlins Park in 2017 when Edinson Vólquez threw his no-hitter for the Miami Marlins.  Of course it was a “Bark in the Park” game, and it said on the Jumbotron that there were 615 dogs there that day.  I’d say a no-hitter plus 615 dogs at a ballgame is a pretty great day!  I also started my Twitter account that day while sitting in the stands, waiting for the game to start.

I also remember a great time at a Florida Fire Frogs game.  It was actually a doubleheader and between games, their mascot, Striker, was celebrating his birthday and several mascots from other Florida teams showed up to help him celebrate.  I got my photo taken with all of them.  You might think a dog would be afraid of those mascot characters, but I’m not!

Finally, when I went to my first Tampa Bay Rays game, we were sitting in the stands enjoying the game when a friend texted to say I was a “hit” on tv!  What??  Turns out they had showed me on TV and the announcers even talked about my fancy haircut!  The next day, I got to see myself when I watched the recorded game!

Next. 2021 Guiding Eyes Golf Classic charity tournament goes virtual this year. dark

For more news, analysis and opinions on Major League baseball as a whole, be sure to check out our FanSided Network sister site Call to the Pen for the latest information, or the site devoted to covering your favorite team.