You can root, root, root for the home team, but Jake the Diamond Dog is the real crowd pleaser at various baseball stadiums.
The golden retriever is the fourth dog specially trained to entertain on the field at minor league baseball games, bringing water to umpires and entertaining fans. It's a tradition that began in the 1990s.
“They were all great. They were all superb," says owner and trainer, Jeff Marchal.
In 1990, Marchal had a trained dog named Jericho. At a drive-thru farm store, Jericho would deliver curb-side service as he carried the money from the folks in the car to Marchal, and then bring the purchased items to the customers.
Mike Veeck, an expert in minor league promotions, saw Jericho and was interested in providing his talents at a baseball field in Fort Myers, Fla. Veeck’s idea was to have Jericho bring water to the umpires.
After Jericho's death, a new dog took on the mantle, followed by another. The current iteration of Jake the Diamond Dog, whose real name is Deuce, was called up in 2009.
“It’s kind of like Lassie,” Marchal explained. “You have Jake the Diamond Dog — you just have to carry that over.”
Make no mistake, the canine is not a one-trick pony. In addition to bringing umpires water, Jake brings flowers to the ballpark sweetheart, takes the game ball to the pitcher at the mound before the game begins and stands by the pitcher during the National Anthem, according to Jon Perry, who's been Jake's agent for 25 years.
Perry told InsideEdition.com that Jake the Diamond Dog also serves as batboy, fetches foul balls, plays Frisbee with the crowd, and even has his own meet-and-greet after each game.
"Oh my goodness, I enjoy it so much when I get to be out on the road with him," Perry said. "The thing I like the most is the meet-and-greet. They treat him like a movie star."
Jake stays in his inflatable dog house on the first base line when he’s not performing, and it also keeps him safe from line drives. Perry says the crowd applauds at everything he does, but is always interested in how he knows to do it all.
Marchal says his training is pretty laid back, but it’s a commitment.
“You’ve got to have a feel for the dog, you’ve got to understand them, you’ve got to bond... you’ve got to nurture them through their stages of life," he said. “The things will just come natural and that’s what I enjoy.”
As much of an obligation it is, Marchal is so proud his of dogs over the years.
“It’s heartwarming to see the reaction from the fans and the cameras," he said. "It’s a really great feeling to see the hard work I’ve put into it and the overall experience in itself."
The demand for Jake has been so widespread that Marchal may consider training a new "Diamond Dog" soon.
“There’s a lot going on,” he said. “Were getting calls for bookings late in the season, which is really unlikely.”
Marchal says if Jake could talk, he would thank the fans for coming to the ballgame and to the show.
“The dog does a great job and we share a lot of stories with the fans,” he said. “His tail's always wagging. I think he enjoys it a whole lot.”
Besides performing, Marchal appreciates the love between human and dog.
“If you’re down, they’re there for you, they love you either way," he said. "If you’re sad, they’ll lift your spirits."