Therapy rabbit brings smiles to stands at baseball match

23 April 2021, 12:44

Kei Kato, left, and her fiance Josh Row hold a therapy rabbit named Alex during the ninth inning of a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Miami Marlins in San Francisco
Marlins Giants Baseball. Picture: PA

Alex the rabbit’s attendance is believed to be a first in the 22-year history of Oracle Park, a San Francisco Giants spokeswoman said.

A therapy rabbit named Alex stole the hearts of San Francisco Giants fans after attending the baseball team’s series opener against Miami Marlins with his owners.

Sporting a dark bow tie with orange crabs to represent the Giants’ colours, four-and-a-half-month-old Alex earned some major screen time in the early innings – because it is not every day you see a bunny at a baseball game.

The rabbit’s attendance in the stands is believed to be a first in the 22-year history of Oracle Park, according to Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter.

“Never. Crazy. … If we win tonight, she (Alex’s owner Kei Kato) has to come back tomorrow,” Ms Slaughter said via text message, noting Alex became an instant Twitter sensation.

Daniel Kurish, of the Marlins’ media relations staff, wasted no time getting in on the fun – in the seventh inning, he was off to deliver Miami gear to the good-sized mammal.

“Tonight’s attendance, 4,580, not including the rabbit,” official scorer David Feldman announced in the seventh.

Alex has been an important, beloved companion for 32-year-old Ms Kato, who lost her brewery restaurant called K-OZ during the pandemic and now runs a small cafe in the US Immigration office.

The rabbit helps her deal with the anxiety and stress of no longer having her main source of income and fulfilment.

“I lost it all because of Covid, so I’ve been really stressed a lot,” Ms Kato said.

“We support local. I was a local. He’s well trained, too.”

Giants chief executive Larry Baer was thrilled to host Alex and his owners.

“Love this therapy bunny …” Mr Baer said.

Kei Kato, left, and her fiance Josh Row hold a therapy rabbit named Alex during a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Miami Marlins in San Francisco
Kei Kato, left, and her fiance Josh Row holding Alex during the baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Miami Marlins (Janie McCauley/AP)

“We could all use a therapy bunny right about now!”

Alex has hopped along with the Golden State Warriors dance team at its practice outside nearby Chase Centre in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district.

Ms Kato and her fiance, Josh Row, plan to bring him to see basketball star Stephen Curry and Golden State soon enough.

Fans return for the Warriors’ home game on Friday night against the Denver Nuggets.

“The bunny is welcome! If he’s fast, we’ll put him in the game to run the fast break!!” Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder said.

The rabbit has attended a Nascar event and is even an ambassador for Lions Clubs International.

Alex helped hand out 400 Easter eggs to children, brings smiles and loves to play, even giving kisses on command.

He entertains the masses at farmers’ markets, has been tubing at Lake Tahoe and kayaking.

“We actually bring him everywhere,” Ms Kato said.

“He brings joy to everybody. He brings joy to us.”

By Press Association