Team Dog

By Barbara Gregorich

Jack and Larry leave Canada
for Cleveland, where Larry inhales
the scent of every player,
.     twitching his tail and planting
.     his paws on each
.          of them.

Jack shows his teammates
each new trick Larry
.     has learned —
.     jumping as high as Jack’s shoulder,
.          sitting on Jack’s shoulders,
.          balancing on Jack’s head.

On the wooden platform,
waiting for the southbound train,
.          the Naps take turns
.          playing with Larry.

Jack makes sure
each player knows that Larry
.     is not just Jack’s dog,
.          he is the team’s dog, too —
.          the official mascot
.     of the Cleveland Naps.

Jack reminds them that they
are all proud of Larry and of
.          themselves, and he hints
.          that maybe they should study
.     how Larry behaves.

Boarding the train,
Jack flexes his arm
.     and stretches his shoulder,
.     heading for the aches
.            of spring training

.     and the hope
.     that his arm has healed.

 

Taken from Barbara’s new book, Jack and Larry: Jack Graney and Larry, the Cleveland Baseball Dog. You can get a copy of this story of the only live mascot ever held by a major league team by visiting Barbara’s website or watching for her at this week’s SABR convention in Minneapolis.

 


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