Originally written on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 7/6/13
After 11 years serving as the bat dog of the Trenton Thunder, Chase heads off into retirement with one final ceremony. (Photo from Trenton Thunder on Facebook) Since 2002, the Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, have had hundreds of players wander through their locker rooms. They’ve had a couple of different managers and dozens of coaches. However, there has always been one consistent face of the franchise, present for 71 home games each year. Regardless of the promotion – whether it be fireworks, kids eat free, or hat night – fans have always come out to see Chase, the team’s bat dog. For the past eleven seasons, it has always been about the dogs in Trenton. On Friday night, that was no different, as the team held a combined retirement/13th birthday party for New Jersey’s favorite bat-grabbing golden retriever. The ceremony was truly touching. Trenton’s media department did a fantastic job compiling a four-minute long tribute video to Chase, showing some of his favorite moments retrieving bats, playing fetch between innings, and even being featured in commercials and on CNN. Joining Chase on his night were plenty of his canine friends, who attended as part of “bring your dog” night. Chase also got to spend some time with his son, Derby, who has taken over the full-time bat dog duties for Trenton, and his grandpup, Champ. Chase’s other son, Ollie, could not be in attendance — he is currently the bat dog for the Eastern League’s New Hampshire Fisher Cats. For many, the thought was that Chase’s retirement was simply due to his old age. Then, the revelation came from Thunder Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales and Partnerships Eric Lipsman, who owns Chase and Derby: Chase has lymphoma. “It has been a tough week,” Lipsman said. “He’s had cancer since February. He’s struggled through it. He’s also got severe arthritis, which is why he was hobbled, and if you saw his legs wrapped in blue, and that is from where he’s had intravenous and chemotherapy. But he’s a brave dog, and I just wanted him to be out there to hear those cheers.” And cheers there were. Though Chase was unable to retrieve one final bat as originally was planned, the fans cheered loud and proud of their bat dog. For many, a hot night in New Jersey’s capital was well-spent celebrating the past eleven years as they came out to say one final goodbye to their friend Chase. Heathcott with Chase prior to Friday’s game (Photo from Trenton Thunder on Facebook). It hasn’t just been tough for fans to say goodbye. During his tenure with the Thunder, Chase has touched several players and coaches as well. Among those mentioned were current Yankees catcher Austin Romine and current Thunder outfielder Slade Heathcott. As Chase lay in the grass for the pre-game ceremony in his honor, Heathcott came out to his side, rubbing his friend’s ears at one point. “A dog’ll put you in a good mood,” Heathcott said prior to Friday’s game. He didn’t stop smiling the whole time we talked. “It give you kind of a feeling of being back at home.” That feeling was echoed by several other members of the Thunder, including Zach Nuding, Tyler Austin, and the team’s manager, Tony Franklin. For Franklin, who has been here since 2007, the connection to Chase was a close one. “They become family,” Franklin added. “So you miss family.” With Chase, everyone in the organization has viewed him as family for a long time. There is no doubt that everyone will miss him both on and off the field. In the case of Chase the bat dog, retirement has cost the team not only their bat dog and the face of their franchise, but also their friend.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Steel workers on Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Report: Cavs could put Love on trading block within next year

Red Sox GM: 'Time to think about' team being sellers

Cardinals fire scouting director in hacking scandal fallout

Report: Lakers to get second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Antonio Gates suspended four games for violating drug policy

Tim Duncan officially returning to Spurs for another season

Rolando McClain suspended four games for substance abuse

Jets' Richardson suspended four games for violating drug policy

Report: Aldridge not impressed with Lakers' branding pitch

Toronto column after trade details Kessel's love of hot dogs

Report: Mavericks Sign Wes Matthews to Four-Year Contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates contract with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Lakers and Knicks: Piece by piece with no shortcuts

Bubba Watson to paint over Confederate flag on General Lee

Brewery offers Aldridge free beer for life if he stays a Blazer

P. Diddy avoids felony charges in incident at UCLA

Day 1 of Greenbrier Classic nets golf fans $192,400

Mike Scioscia took down Mike Trout’s Nerf basketball hoop

What the Greg Monroe signing means for the Bucks

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.