Animals always have been welcome on Cincinnati Reds fields, from cows on Farmer’s Nights to Clydesdales and elephants on Opening Day, to a cheetah racing Billy Bates back in 1990. Also the several editions of Marge Schott’s beloved St. Bernards.
The collection grew by one more species on Saturday when a donkey named Amos showed up for batting practice before Cincinnati’s game against the Washington Nationals.
He was one of three on hand – the other two were scheduled to be available for fans in the Kroger Fan Zone – from Honey Hill Farm in Pendleton County, Kentucky. They were the latest chapter in the saga that started when shortstop Zack Cozart told first baseman Joey Votto that he liked donkeys and Votto promised to buy Cozart one if the shortstop made the National League team for the All-Star Game.
The Reds were encouraging fans to submit names for Cozart’s donkey for firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manager Bryan Price admitted that a donkey on the field was among the top five oddities he’s seen on baseball fields down through the year.
“There are certain things that probably shouldn’t be seen,” Price said, mentioning Morganna, the “Kissing Bandit” of the 1970s who would jump out of the stands and run out to smooch a player. “I think (a donkey) is great. There are certain things that my generation thinks are over the top. Baseball is such a generational sport, but I just think this is good gamesmanship between teammates. I’m enjoying it.”