Bull City Summer

Bark in the park

Posted June 24, 2013

You’d expect the army of Labs adorned with bandanas, cool as Wil Myers flying first class to Tampa. The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen? Not so much.

But a defining element of this year’s “Bark in the Park” at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park was the sheer canine diversity of it all. You had your Labs, of course, and more mutts than you could shake a stick at, but also a hundred-pound Newfoundland named Bigley, whose laid-back demeanor attracted kids and their camera-carrying parents by the score.

Also in attendance were Whippets, beagles, Wheaten Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Boston Terriers, Black Russian Terriers, Chihuahuas, pit bulls, Dalmatians, Great Danes, Irish Setters, and Yorkiepoos. The event attracted an estimated 500 pooches, each one friendlier than the next, and, according to their owners, all of them diehard Bulls fans.

Well, except for Fenway, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. You can guess where his heart lies.

“Bark in the Park” happenings are popular throughout baseball—the Cleveland Indians, for instance, host an annual “Puppylooza”—with over fifty events each summer. The trend began in 1996, with the White Sox hosting “Dog Days of Summer.” In retrospect, you have to wonder: it really took us that long to figure out dogs and baseball go together like a ball and glove, like peanut butter and jelly, like B.J. and Justin Upton?

It’s a forehead-slap of a realization. What other animal can you actually play baseball with? Like your average outfielder, dogs fetch, they catch, they love a good game of fungo. Okay, so they can’t bat for beans, but you have to believe they appreciate a Louisville Slugger for the beautifully honed and polished stick that it is.

Moreover, baseball is a game for people who take the long view, and so it is with dogs. Like any good fan, a dog sticks with you through thick and thin, through Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout to Mark MacGuire’s admission of steroid use. A cat would have turned up its pointy nose at baseball a long time ago. A dog shrugs its shoulders. We’ll get ‘em next time. Tomorrow’s another day.

A number of people admitted they didn’t think their dogs found baseball all that interesting. But let’s be frank: all sorts of folks show up at DBAP who don’t find baseball all that interesting. They’re there for the atmosphere, for the eating and drinking with friends while the sun sets over the Durham Freeway. And, yes, some of them are there because where else are you going to see fake Sumo wrestling.

But it’s nice to think that at least a few of those Labs, maybe a couple dozen of the mutts, and Bigley, the big bear of a Newfoundland, came for the purest of reasons.

They were there for the love of the game.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Newest First
View all
  • CBB: Texas A&M at LSU

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CIAA: Winston Salem State @ Fayetteville State

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on METV 50.2

  • Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Unlimited

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • Nascar Sprint Cup Series: Daytona 500 Qualifying

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • CBB: UNC vs. Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • CBB: Kansas at Oklahoma

    Tomorrow at 2:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Pebble Beach (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Reavie-818
2tB. Burgoon-718
2tF. Jacobson-718
2tC. Smith-718
5tR. Barnes-618
5tS. Bertsch-618
5tR. Castro-618
5tJ. Holmes-618
5tS. Levin-618
5tJ. Rose-618
View Full Leaderboard
 
Allianz Champ (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1E. Toledo - z-11F
2B. Andrade - y-11F
3tT. Byrum-10F
3tJ. Sluman-10F
5T. Lehman-9F
6tB. Bryant-8F
6tC. Montgomerie-8F
6tD. Garwood-8F
6tJ. Huston-8F
10tJ. Maggert-7F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Friday, Feb. 12
Memphis Open (ATP)
 
World Tennis Tournament (ATP)
Quarterfinals
(8) V. Troicki2 0    
N. Mahut6 3    
(6) R. Bautista A 
M. Klizan 
(2) M. Cilic 
P. Kohlschrei 
(5) G. Monfils 
A. Zverev 
 
Argentina Open (ATP)
 
WTA Scoreboard
Friday, Feb. 12
St. Petersburg Ladies (WTA)
Quarterfinals
(2) R. Vinci77 4 77   
T. Babos63 6 64   
(4) A. Ivanovic6 1    
K. Kozlova1 0    
D. Cibulkova 
D. Kasatkina 
(1) B. Bencic 
(5) A. Pavlyuchen 
 
Taiwan Open (WTA)
Quarterfinals
(6) S. Hsieh6 6    
E. Kulichkova0 2    
(1) V. Williams7 6    
A. Sevastova5 2    
Semifinals
(2) M. Doi 
(6) S. Hsieh 
(1) V. Williams 
(3) Y. Putintseva