Everybody enjoys a night out at the ballpark, especially in the summer. Many people go with their friends, family, significant others, and more. But some also get to go with, “man’s best friend”, their dog(s).
Every year, Major League and Minor League Baseball teams around the country host “Bark at the Park” nights in which fans can bring their canines to the ballpark to enjoy the game alongside them. Since its introduction, “Bark in the Park” has become widely popular throughout the country as one of the most beloved nights of the season by fans.
The “Bark at the Park” phenomenon is still rather new. The first time it happened was in 1996 when the Chicago White Sox held a promotion called “Dog Days of Summer” according to a 2012 article by Doug Williams on ESPN. Additionally, according to that article, it was an instant success for the White Sox, selling out “well in advance” according to the Chicago White Sox vice president of marketing and broadcasting Rob Gallas.
Following that it slowly caught on throughout Major League and Minor League Baseball. Now, today in 2023, nearly the entirety of Major League Baseball.
For some teams, the Bark at the Park events is so popular that they have multiple of them each year. For example, the Seattle Mariners have four Bark at the Park games scheduled for 2023. One in May, one in July, one in August, and one in September. It is worth noting that most stadiums keep the furry friends in specific sections in order to minimize cleanup and to avoid anyone who may have allergies that could be affected by the dogs being present.
According to DogTails by DogWatch, out of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball, over half have some sort of Bark in the Park event. The only teams that do not have such events are the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays in the American League while in the National League, the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Milwaukee Brewers did not have any dog-friendly games. The Boston Red Sox do not have a regular “Bring Your Dog to the Park” day. However, they do host a special event called “Dog Day at Fenway” once a year. The next Dog Day at Fenway is tonight June 27, 2023. You can also take advantage and check out Massachusetts Sports betting sites to bring home the winnings and buy your dog some extra doggy treats.
Throughout these games, Major League and Minor League teams have different ways of including the dogs throughout the game. Through different contests, big-screen cameras, dog-friendly food, dog parades, and more. It is truly an event on these nights at the ballpark and not just another game, it’s one that all animal lovers can enjoy whether they bring their own furry friends or not.
“Bark in the Park” has not been kept to just baseball either as multiple minor league hockey throughout the country had dog days at their arenas this past season. That being said, no NHL, NBA, or NFL teams have similar days for their own teams. But never say never, perhaps that will change in the future but until then, be sure to check your local Major League Baseball franchise or minor league baseball franchise’s promotional schedule to see when their next “Bark in the Park” night is!
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.