World Series Bark Park: Porcello's pup romps around Fenway

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 23, 2018 07:13 AM
World Series Bark Park: Porcello's pup romps around Fenway
Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, left, plays with his 4-month-old puppy, Bronco, whose father is service dog, Drago, owned by head groundskeeper Dave Mellor, right, during a baseball work out at Fenway Park, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Boston. The Boston Red Sox are preparing for Game 1 of the baseball World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers scheduled for Tuesday in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

By Ben Walker, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Fresh from his World Series workout, Rick Porcello was far from dog tired.

So the Red Sox pitcher took his new puppy for a romp at a popular park — Fenway Park.

Porcello watched in amusement as 4-month-old Bronco the German shepherd explored the yard Sunday. The pup sniffed outside the Boston dugout, zig-zagged across the outfield grass and ran next to the Green Monster.

"I got him a couple days before the playoffs," Porcello said. "As soon as I saw him, I knew I wanted him to be in my life."

The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner didn't have to look far to find him. Bronco's dad is Drago, a 7-year-old service dog owned by Fenway Park head groundskeeper Dave Mellor.

Drago was on the field, as usual, with Mellor after the Red Sox held a short practice two days before Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bronco was named because of his active nature, his tail wagging a mile a minute, and roamed from corner to corner with Drago.

"Who's a good dog?" Porcello called as they ran past.

To the delight of a tour group in the stands, Bronco dashed toward a worker's wheelbarrow and then veered off. After about 20 minutes, Porcello scooped up the playful pup and carried him off the bark park.

Bronco was among a litter of five born this summer to Lisle, another of Mellor's dogs. Red Sox infielder Ian Kinsler also adopted a littermate, Quinn, and pairing her with a boxer the family already had at home.

"You see Dave with Drago out there on the field, you can see he's a special dog," Kinsler said Monday. "When Dave said one was available, there was no doubt we were getting her."

Porcello said his parents always had dogs around the house when he was growing up in New Jersey. Mostly they had Labradors, and one of their pooches was named Kirby, for Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

It's a busy time for Porcello, and right now Bronco is living with a trainer in nearby New Hampshire.

"Once the season is over, he'll come live with me and get acclimated," Porcello said. "I can't wait to have a dog in the house."

Drago is always by Mellor's side, on and off the field. Twice in his life, Mellor has been hit by cars, resulting in dozens of surgeries. Drago helps Mellor cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"We're a team," he said.

Mellor has been grooming the Red Sox lawn since 2001, and said many fans wonder whether his dog was named for former Boston pitcher Dick Drago.

It'd be a good story, he allowed, but not accurate.

"He was born in Slovakia," Mellor said. "They told us his name means 'precious' in Slovakian."

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