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.
Home | Columns |
Photos | Books
| Biography | Mental
Health | Links
Dog Days of Summer hits home
By Barry Schrader.................................August
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.
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
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.
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 Dogs
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
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.
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.
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 couldnt repeat any of the lyrics in a family
Next question: Josh, any pets at home?
Yes, a dog named Max and a bearded dragon. Daily
grunted: I dont 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 wouldnt be caught dead in one of those fiberglass
contraptions only built for humans, he snapped.
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 Ill pretend to be a mascot again next year
but only if it is in the 70-degree range with a heat index under
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115