The future is now

The Durham Bulls strapping a GoPro to their bat dog is exactly the innovation baseball needs

September 17, 2021

Ump cam. Catcher cam. Batter cam. 8K fidelity. Statcast. Wild cards. Mic’d up outfielders and baseball games in cornfields. In recent years, the baseball brain trust has done everything under the sun to make baseball more watchable … and mostly failed. Those days of futility are over, however. We have found the missing link—the one thing that might just save baseball from a bumpy, buffering future on ESPN+:


That’s Durham Bulls bat dog Ripken. On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Rays triple-A affiliate strapped a GoPro to their furry friend’s back and told him to do what he does best: Fetch errant bats from the field of play as the crowd goes wild. Look at that speed. Look at that agility. It sure beats the hell out of watching some nerd spew out an exit velo.

Of course, the MLB first has to get on board with bat dogs as a concept before it can even consider arming them with cameras, Cracker Jacks, and whatever else the canine minds of minor league baseball dream up. It will be a long road and it won’t be easy, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work, one day man’s best friend and America’s pastime will work together, stride for stride and strike for strike. We just hope the world is still around to see it ...