An elderly coupld came to camp and sat in the stands watching the Mariners walk out, a small, thin Italian greyhound lying quietly at their feet.
The Tacoma batting coach Alonzo Powell began hitting baseballs to first base. Each time Powell picked up a ball, the dog barked. Eventually, Powell looked over.
"He thinks you have his ball," the owner said apologetically. "I'm sorry. He just wants to play with a ball."
Powell continued the drill. The dog continued to bark.
Eventually, Powell walked to the fence gate and handed a baseball to the pooch, which treated it appropriately - as a rat-dog treasure - and walked away with it proudly.
The savage beast satisfied, the barking stopped and the Mariners continued their work out.
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