SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A handsome, golden-colored therapy bunny named Alex came to the ballpark and stole the hearts of San Francisco Giants fans Thursday night, attending the series opener against Miami with owners Kei Kato and Josh Row.
Sporting a dark bow tie with orange crabs to represent the Giants’ colors, 4 1/2-month-old Alex earned some significant screen time in the early innings – because it’s just not every day you see a rabbit at a baseball game.
According to Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter, the bunny in the stands is believed to be the first in the 22-year history of Oracle Park. “Never. Crazy. … If we win tonight, she has to come back tomorrow,” Slaughter said via text message, noting Alex became an instant Twitter sensation.
Daniel Kurdish of the Marlins’ media relations staff wasted no time getting in on the bunny fun: He was off to deliver Miami gear to the good-sized mammal in the seventh inning.
“Tonight’s attendance, 4,580, not including the rabbit,” official scorer David Feldman announced in the seventh.
Alex has been an essential, beloved companion for the 32-year-old Kato, who lost her brewery restaurant “K-OZ” during the pandemic and now runs a small café in the U.S. Immigration office. The bunny helps her deal with the anxiety and stress of no longer having her primary source of income and fulfillment. “I lost it all because of COVID, so I’ve been really stressed a lot,” Keto said. “We support local. I was a local. He’s well trained, too.”
Alex has hopped along with the Warriors dance team at its practice outside nearby Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. Kato and her fiancee, Row, plan to bring him to see Stephen Curry and Golden State soon enough. Fans return for the Warriors’ home game Friday night against the 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 bunny has attended a NASCAR event and is even an ambassador for Lions Clubs International. Alex helped hand out 400 Easter eggs to children, brought smiles, and loved 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,” Kato said. “He brings joy to everybody. He brings joy to us.”