Tom Lohr has eaten a hot dog at all 30 MLB ballparks and is the author of "Gone to the Dogs: In Search of the Best Ballpark Hot Dog."
The Dog Days of Summer
Baseball season is here and fans are streaming into the ballparks. Guess who else digs watching the boys of summer toss a ball around? Your furry bestie, that’s who. With more and more ballparks hosting at least one dog friendly event each year (a tradition that started with the Chicago White Sox in 1996), a slew of teams are allowing fans to bring their canine compadres to watch players hit homers with their hound.
Following the White Sox lead, other teams began, noting the popularity of the event considering canines. Today, most teams schedule at game or two per season as a “Bark in the Park” or similarly named event. Major Leagues' Pittsburgh Pirates had the most dog friendly game season after season has, scheduling ten per summer. Citizens of the high desert refused to allow the Steel City to hold the crown for long, and in 2016, the Arizona Diamondbacks opened the PetSmart Patio. Each Sunday home game, fans can bring their pooches to a designated section that includes a dog park, and dog friendly concessions. Isn't a daytime game in Phoenix too hot you ask? Not to worry, the Diamondback's ballpark has a retractable roof to keep the interior a comfy temperature for human and beast.
It is the ideal excursion for a dog and its human; watching nine innings of hardball as the smell of hot dogs drifts through the air; it’s a dog’s dream date. If you haven’t taken in a game with your best pal yet, then make this summer the year you and Bowser bond at the ballpark.
Teams go all out for the dog day event. Some bring in sod to construct a pet relief area, and others put the pups and owners on the scoreboard video screen between innings. Most stadiums have size restrictions and require proof of vaccinations, be sure to check your team’s website for any specific rules. To make your dog’s trip to the ballgame a day to remember, here are a few tips to make the outing stress free.
1. Throw Some Shade
If you have a choice of seating, know your ballpark’s east-west seating orientation and which gets shade first. Pick a seat that will get the most shade. The ticket booth can assist you.
2. Bring the Diaper Bag
Despite having relief areas, accidents happen. Be prepared to clean up.
3. Food Fight!
A neighboring fan’s hot dog is a tempting target for a hungry pooch. If yours has food filching issues, keep Rover close.
4. Show Me Your Papers Please
Keep a copy of immunization records on you. Being turned back at the gate due lack of documentation will leave both of you with your tail between your legs.
5. Not for the Grouchy
This has become a very popular event, know that there will be LOTS of other dogs there. Some teams have nearly 1000 pups in the stands. If your dog isn’t very sociable, it is best to catch the game on television.
6. Make a Splash
Water is readily available at the ballpark, a bowl may not be. Bring one.
7. Things That Go Boom
Some teams celebrate home runs or wins with a small fireworks display. If your pal is skittish of the bangs and booms of pyrotechnics, find out your ballpark's celebratory routine, and be prepared to comfort your companion.
8. Are We There Yet?
A typical ballgame lasts about three hours. Add getting into and out of the stadium, and a complete baseball outing can push the limits of anyone's patience, including your dog's. Be prepared to leave early if Frisky starts getting too frisky, or just plain tired.
9. Keep It Close
Your dog must be leashed the entire time. Don't forget to bring it.
10. Don't Make it a Scorcher
If you attend a day game and you have a breed susceptible to sunburn or sensitivity, don't forget to bring some canine-approved sunscreen.
Hit the Road Fido
Don't have a canine companion? Many of these pupplypaloozas are joined by the local Humane Society or SPCA. Often they bring along some of their charges for adoption. If you don't bring a furry fan to the game, you just might leave with one.
Don’t live near an MLB ballpark? The idea has caught on in the minor leagues as well, and with over 100 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams strewn across the country, a day at the ballpark for you and your best pal is a short road trip away. Check your local bush league team's promotional schedule for dates.
Baseball road trips have been bonding experiences for humans since the automobile found its way into the average American's driveway. There is something about climbing into the car and heading to the diamond to cheer on the boys of summer. This season, bond with your bestie and let your dog experience the sights, sounds, smells and thrills of the ballpark. Just keep your head from hanging out the window on the way to the game.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 16, 2021:
I didn’t know that dogs were sometimes allowed into ballparks. I love the idea. Thank you for sharing all the precautions that a pet owner needs to follow when taking their dog to a baseball game. You’ve created a very useful article.
Liz Westwood from UK on May 16, 2021:
This is a humorous and well-written article. It has given me a whole new insight into baseball and its spectators. I really appreciate your practical tips for dog owners.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 16, 2021:
Peggy, I too was amazed by this. This is fantastically good information and I hope a lot of dog owners can take their pups to a game this year.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 16, 2021:
I had no idea that some baseball games occasionally allow dogs to be there with their owners. I also did not realize there was sunscreen for dogs. So thanks for the enlightenment.