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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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‘Dog Days of Summer’ hits home

By Barry Schrader.................................August 17, 2010

The term “dog days of summer” has a new meaning for me as I experienced them firsthand on a recent night at the DeKalb County Liners baseball field.
Seeking something different for a hot August column, I decided to go undercover and asked Daily Chronicle News Editor Kate Schott if I could sneak into the Daily Dog mascot outfit used at Liners baseball games and do a little sniffing around for a story. She agreed, but cautioned me to remember my journalistic ethics and not eavesdrop on any players or fans without them knowing I was from “the press.” And no hidden cassette recorder in my paw.

Barry Schrader dons the Daily
Dog costume for a column.

That took some of the “muckraking” fun out of my original idea, but I went ahead. With the permission of the Liners’ operations manager, Michele Welsh, and the able assistance of Josh Hart, the real mascot, I trotted over to the storage trailer and struggled into this gargantuan 7-foot-tall costume that was designed for Alaskan winters, not Sycamore summers.
I finally got out to the field in time to see Kishwaukee College President Tom Choice toss out the first pitch. But there were all these little people around me, wanting high-fives and even pulling my tail. I could hardly see through Daily Dog’s mouth because the sweat was running down my forehead over my eyes and off my nose so profusely my glasses fogged up. I forgot to mention the heat index was close to 110 degrees that day. But that is the price you pay for wanting a column topic bad enough.
So after a few more high-fives and stumbling around looking for a cold beer, with the vendor Robert ignoring my muffled pleas, I disemBARKed back to the trailer and peeled the parka-like outfit off.
Not wanting to end this charade empty-pawed, I wrangled an interview with the genuine Daily Dog, and his alter ego, Josh.
First question: Josh what is your favorite food? “Heroes” he replied, but I figured out he really meant Gyros. Turning to Daily Dog I repeated the question: “Tender tails” was his answer, and I was hesitant to ask what animal they came from.
Josh, what about your favorite music? “‘Midnight Train’ by Journey, plus some classic rock tunes.” Daily then answered gruffly, “Hound Dog,” by the late, great Elvis Presley, mentioning also that his dear departed mother, Lassie, always swooned to the Patti Page hit “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?” He added that his favorite rapper is Snoop Dog, but he couldn’t repeat any of the lyrics in a family newspaper.
Next question: Josh, any pets at home? “Yes, a dog named Max and a bearded dragon.” Daily grunted: “I don’t get to keep any pets in my dog house but I do have a girlfriend, a cute little Schnauzer named Ollie.”
By then I was dog-tired and needed a “hot dog” break. Josh helpfully pointed out the nearest portable toilet. Daily grumbled that next year he was joining the Minors League Mascots Union since their contract requires at least two fire hydrants on the sidelines “for any self-respecting canine that wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those fiberglass contraptions only built for humans,” he snapped.
This was such an exciting dual interview I thought about going after the other Liners mascots, Spartan, Barb the Crow, Scoop the ice cream guy, or even Cashew the Koala. But they had run off to entertain the fans and liven things up about the fifth inning. Maybe I’ll pretend to be a mascot again next year – but only if it is in the 70-degree range with a heat index under 90.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115