January 05, 2011
Men Who Are Dawgs
Ben Grieve, 1997 Skybox "Little Dawgs"
Seen here is famous “Little Dawg” Ben Grieve, part of Skybox’s “Dugout Access” series, in which we receive exclusive dugout access in the form of a baseball card. This past summer, I wore this card around my neck and attempted to enter the Diamondbacks dugout in order to figure out why the team was so horrible at baseball. I was stopped at the door by a security guard, who did not grant me access as a result of these credentials. I was informed that my Ben Grieve “Little Dawgs” baseball card, part of the “Dugout Access” series, only granted dugout access in the sense that the information contained on the back of the card was supposed to make me feel as though I were in the actual dugout. I was disappointed.
Many people know Ben Grieve as “Ben Grieve.” People close to him, however, know him as “Little Dawg,” with a “w.” And by people close to him, I mean “people who do not know his actual name.” And by people I mean Barry Larkin:
What is a “LITTLE DAWG”?
Excellent question. I do want to mention that the question mark should be inside the quotes, but again, we are dealing with DAWG in ALL CAPS spelled with a “W,” so I will let that one pass.
Major League teams invite as many as 70 players to Spring Training each year. With so many players, it’s sometimes difficult to learn everybody’s name, so Barry Larkin simply refers to the players he doesn’t recognize as “Little Dawgs.”
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Spring training, ’97, A’s versus Reds. Ben Grieve doubles off the right field wall, and pulls up to second base. Standing there is Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
Larkin: Nice hit, Little Dawg. (Slaps Ben Grieve on the butt with his glove.)
Grieve: Thanks. What?
Larkin: I said, “Nice hit, Little Dawg.”
Grieve: Okay, yeah. What’s a “Little Dawg?”
Larkin: You, man. You’re a Little Dawg.
Grieve: What? Why?
Larkin: Because I don’t know your name. Man, do you know how many players they invite to spring training? 70! And that’s each team! Times 70 by 30 and that’s a million Little Dawgs. I can’t be remembering all types of names and stuff. I’m Barry Larkin!
Grieve: My name is Ben.
Larkin: That’s cool. Listen, don’t feel bad, Little Dawg. My brother-in-law is a Little Dawg too, and that dude’s been married to my sister, what's-her-face, for like 30 years. That’s 10 in dawg years. Ha! Get it?
Grieve: Yeah. Good one. But don’t you think you should at least try to remember some people’s names? I mean, I’m a grown man, and I think I’m a good player—as does every other guy out here—and it’s kind of condescending to be equated with an annoying chihuahua.
Larkin: You Little Dawgs are crazy! You should feel lucky a player of my stature is even speaking to you. You see your boy Little Dawg over there? (Points to A's dugout ...)
Larkin: Yeah. What does he call you?
Grieve: (Hangs head in shame.) He won’t speak to me.
Larkin: Exactly. But me? You’re my Little Dawg! C’mere. Gimmie a hug.
The two men hug at second base.
Grieve: Mr. Larkin?
Larkin: Call me Barry.
Grieve: Barry, what will you call me if I win “Rookie of the Year” this year?
Larkin: Hmmm. How about “Frank?” All you white guys look like Franks.
Grieve: Okay, deal.