The phrase "ballpark dogs" has a pretty long-running connotation, and it's one that's generally associated with a meal topped with ketchup, mustard, or relish. But in the years to come, giving a ballpark dog to your dog at the ballpark may well become a regular occurrence. The Arizona Diamondbacks recently announced plans, in conjunction with PetSmart, to create a dog-friendly seating area for each of the team’s Sunday home games in 2016. The plan will also involve dog-friendly concessions and a play area for dogs, who don't necessarily find the game of baseball as compelling as most humans.
The Diamondbacks aren’t the only professional sports team to experiment with canine-friendly facilities. The New York Mets' Short-Season A affiliate the Brooklyn Cyclones, for one, has held an annual "Bark in the Park" event for the past few years. Much as with Arizona, this doesn't involve giving dogs the run of the ballpark, as adorable as that might be — instead, the ballpark's bleachers are opened to fans with dogs in tow. Both the Diamondbacks and the Cyclones also encourage dog adoption at their events — so even if you don't bring a canine friend to the game, you might well end up bringing one home from it.
As more public places become dog-friendly, it isn't hard to see why this particular sport has been at the forefront of things. Baseball is a natural fit for dogs — the number of afternoon games in warmer seasons, the outdoor play, and the proximity of grass all make for an environment where sociable dogs will likely feel at home. We're probably still a ways off from a golden retriever sitting beside the ice for a hockey game, or a couple of basset hounds taking in a soccer game from the supporters' section, but watching nine innings with your dog by your side doesn’t seem like a bad place to start.