hank the dog

Hank Flying High In Brew Town

How will Milwaukee Brewers fans receive Ryan Braun in 2014? That was a major question at the beginning of Spring Training in Arizona.

The 2011 National League MVP, coming off his 65-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, faced the media, and preparations for the season started just like they do every year. Then, out of the fields, trotted a little white fluff ball, looking for a friend. A homeless dog the organization and its players would adopt. They named him Hank, and embraced him at the Maryvale ballpark.

Turns out, Hank was exactly what the Brewers needed.

Coming off a 74-88 season, it brought fun into baseball again, and shifted the focus away from Braun talk. Another great move is the fact that the team is sharing Hank with the fans. Sure, they already have Bernie and the sausage race…Hank is the latest installment.

Team COO Rick Schlesinger calls Hank’s story one of “hope and redemption” and, thankfully, Hank didn’t find a friend, he found a family. He arrived to Milwaukee on Sunday night. Early Tuesday morning, hundreds of fans lined up outside the Miller Park for the chance to meet Hank, and buy special merchandise.

Children stood in awe of the dog, while lifelong season-ticket holders snapped pictures of their team’s newest addition. The pooch brings warmth from Arizona to a clubhouse and fan base that has endured a lot of cold uncertainty in the past year. The team plans on selling Hank gear all season, with 20% of the proceeds going to the Wisconsin Humane Society and area shelters.