A night at the park with ‘man’s best friend’
CLEVELAND — This season, 20 major-league teams will host their own version of bringing your dog to the park night, but there is only one Puppypalooza.
On Tuesday night, the Indians had their annual night where their four-legged fans could take in a game as 300 canines of all shapes and sizes were at Progressive Field.
Most teams call them "Bark at the Park" or "Dog Days of Summer." The Indians though are the only ones to call theirs "Puppypalooza."
When it comes to promotions, "Dog Nights" have become increasingly popular. Most teams still do it only once a year but there are some that do it multiple times. The Reds now have four Bark at the Park events while the Pirates this season have nine "Pup Nights at PNC Park."
And for some, including yours truly, "Puppypalooza" could also be called "Take Your Dog to Work Night." While Ruby, my 8-year old Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix, didn’t sit in the press box, she did get to walk on the field before the game as part of the parade of pups.
You also learn something too — taking man’s best friend to a baseball game really isn’t that much different than going with your human counterpart or taking a child for the first time. For instance:
Their focus isn’t that much on the game — Since most dogs aren’t used to being around that many at one time, most of their attention is checking out everyone else. With all the sights and sounds around a ballpark, it’s also a lot to take in.
They love ballpark food — Ruby went through a dish of ice cream in under three minutes and took a couple of hands of popcorn. Judging by the way she tried to get out of lap twice, she really wanted to try the nachos that a couple had a couple tables down in the Budweiser Patio but there are limits.
Dogs love Slider just as much as kids — There was a line of fans and dogs waiting to get their picture taken with the Indians mascot during the third inning.
They can dress up funny too — Besides some dogs donning Indians caps and T-shirts, there was one dog in a Shin-Soo Choo jersey and a couple of them in a full baseball uniform.
They are generally well behaved — There wasn’t much barking during the National Anthem.