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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Corey Hart's departure from Milwaukee marks the end of an era for The Crew.
Corey Hart's departure from Milwaukee marks the end of an era for The Crew. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Hart's departure signals end of an era

Corey Hart is officially gone, off to Seattle to play with Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez in the Pacific Northwest.

But, really, it seems as if he’s been gone for a while. There hasn’t been much consternation about his departure on talk radio, or social media.

Perhaps it’s out of sight, out of mind. He missed all of 2013 recovering from surgeries on both knees and last played for the Milwaukee Brewers on Oct. 1, 2012, going 0-for-3. He finished that season – a disappointment, team-wise – with a .270 batting average, .334 on base percentage and .841 OPS with 30 home runs and 83 RBI in 149 games played.

While Hart isn’t truly the last piece that remains of the most successful stretch of Brewers baseball since the early 1980s (Rickie Weeks will be next, and Ryan Braun remains for the foreseeable future) his departure does feel like it marks the end of one era of homegrown talent that from 2005 through 2013 went 739-719 with one division championship, two playoff appearances and one trip to the National League Championship.

Think about it, those 2005 Brewers that finished 81-81 – the first non-losing season in 12 years – featured J.J. Hardy (22), Weeks (22) and the first appearances of Hart (23) and Prince Fielder (21).

It was a heck of a run for the Brewers, as they drafted a future All-Star every year from 2000 through 2005, and then used picks from 2006 through 2008 to land Cy Young winners CC Sabathia and Zack Greinke via trade.

Hart was the oldest of that core, drafted in 2000. Though he never played 162 games (his career high was 157 in 2008) he did make two All-Star teams and topped 30 home runs twice and drove in more than 100 once.

Hart ended his tenure in Milwaukee after nine years with 154 home runs, 508 RBI, a .276 average and 16.0 WAR. He hit .241 with 2 homers and 5 RBI in 60 postseason plate appearances well.

A "new era" began with the Brewers in 2013, with Weeks, Gallardo and Braun remaining in the transition.

Catcher and pote…

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Brandon Jennings returned to Milwaukee for the first time since being traded to the Detroit Pistons. It was an anticlimactic experience for all involved.
Brandon Jennings returned to Milwaukee for the first time since being traded to the Detroit Pistons. It was an anticlimactic experience for all involved. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Jennings' return a dud

A couple of weeks ago, Greg Jennings returned to Lambeau Field for the first time in the colors of a divisional rival.

On Wednesday, Brandon Jennings returned to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the first time in the colors of a divisional rival.

No one cared.

Well, somebody, maybe, did.

Greg Jennings was all about mending fences by the time the Minnesota Vikings trekked to Green Bay. The vitriol had long since passed. I honestly forgot about the "event" until some TV reporters asked James Jones about it a few days before.

You could say the same thing about Brandon Jennings’ return. There was some chatter about it when the schedule was announced, and when the Bucks went up to Detroit, but it wasn’t a hot topic of conversation (at least any I heard).

Brandon Jennings said before tipoff on Wednesday he "heard" he’d get booed, but expected a "mixture" of booing and cheering upon his introduction wearing Detroit Pistons blue and red.

"It was fun, actually," he said of his four years with the Bucks. "Just with everything. The fans, they stuck with us for the four years between the good and the bad. They supported us through everything. We had some great times, making the playoffs my rookie year and also making the playoffs last year. I had a lot of great memories here."

Those fans were merciless however. There was no mixture, save for a guy who had a sign saying he came from Denver to see Jennings. The BMO Harris faithful booed Jennings at his introduction, as he brought the ball up the floor, and as he took shots. They chanted "flop!" when he drew an offensive foul on Luke Ridnour near the end of the first half.

He preened after a nice pass off a Bucks turnover that led to an easy Greg Monroe bucket in the second half, nearly dribbled the ball out of bounds off his legs, and finished the night with 17 points on just 4 of 16 shooting. He handed out 11 assists but turned it over six times. He saluted the fans in "Sector 7." He did the things Jennings does.

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