While the baseball world was busy celebrating Aaron Judge’s ascent to all-time status, passing Roger Maris for the most home runs in American League history Tuesday night, the Mets, coming off a frustrating series in Atlanta (one that would ultimately cost them the division title), were holding their annual Bark at the Park festivities, inviting pet owners to bring their dogs to Citi Field.
Braving the elements on a dreary night in Queens (Hurricane Ian, or what’s left of it, has finally reached the northeast), one pup stood above the rest, with six-year-old golden retriever Renegade quickly rising to viral fame. Taking in the game with his brother Doak and their owner Chris Howland, Renegade left Citi Field with a prized souvenir, retrieving (no pun intended) Francisco Lindor’s solo blast to deep right field, the second of three straight homers by the Mets to begin the first inning.
Lindor’s upper-deck shot was all the offense New York would need on a night where the visiting Nationals, headed for their third last-place finish in as many years, were held scoreless, dropping to an MLB-worst 55-106 on the season (.342 winning percentage). Renegade, who traveled all the way from Florida for the penultimate game of the regular season (if the names of his furry friends didn’t give it away, let it be known that Howland is a proud FSU alum), got a bit sloppy with the merchandise (notice his look of concern as the ball rolls away from him), but the proud pooch still came out a winner, bringing home a valuable keepsake he’ll treasure for the rest of his life, or at least until his next meal.
That said, Renegade’s ball, complete with authentic teeth marks and a thick coat of canine slobber, probably won’t sell for as much as Judge’s 62nd home run, which could net the lucky fan who caught it, Corey Youmans of Dallas, a small fortune.