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Rookie to make Thunder debut Thursday

Rookie, Trenton Thunder

More ballpark dog news: Rookie, the third generation of golden retrievers pleasing Trenton Thunder (Class AA; Eastern League) fans at Arm & Hammer Park, will make his debut Thursday.

Rookie (shown above as a young pup), who has been in training throughout the offseason at Shelly’s School For Dogs in Millstone, N.J., will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Chase and father Derby and perform bat dog duties in the bottom of the first inning on Opening Night. Derby will perform his normal bat dog duties in the bottom of the second inning, his sixth season retrieving bats.

Derby and Rookie follow the original Thunder bat dog, “Chase That Golden Thunder.” Chase spent ten seasons bringing smiles to the faces of fans and retrieving bats for the Thunder. He has been featured worldwide on CNN and Japanese Television, nationally on ESPN, FOX and the YES Network and regionally on FOX-29, KYW-3, UPN-9, News 12 NJ, Today in New York on WNBC-4 plus his picture has appeared in Sports Illustrated and newspapers all over the country. On June 4, 2013 Chase was honored on the field at Yankee Stadium following a special invitation by Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

Chase’s son “Home Run” Derby was introduced to Thunder fans as a puppy in 2008. From 2010 to 2012, Derby shared bat dog duties with his dad. Now in 2015, he will have the chance to share his bat dog duties with his son, Rookie. Derby continues to work out with the players in the bullpen and the outfield during pre-game warm-ups, pose for pictures with fans during and after games and brings water out to the umpires during the game.

Derby and Rookie are not the only ones who followed Chase into the family business, Derby’s brother, Ollie, is the bat dog for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

RELATED STORIES: Promotions Watch: Minor leagues go to the dogs; New addition to Thunder front office: Rookie; In memoriam: Chase That Golden Thunder

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