By now, I'm sure you've heard about the Milwaukee Brewers' new little mascot for the 2014 season.
After all, Hank the Dog even has own Twitter handle: @BrewersHank. And the pooch has even been running with the Klement's Racing Sausages in spring training games in Maryvale, Ariz.
The club says it will bring Hank, who has been named after Milwaukee Braves and Brewers legend Hank Aaron, north with them to Milwaukee when the regular season starts on March 31.
Hank the Dog will be added to the growing ranks of Brewers' icons, ranging from Bernie Brewer and the Racing Sausages to Front Row Amy and the Door Man seated behind the visitors' dugout.
So, what's the real story behind this loveable pooch? I asked that question to Tyler Barnes, vice president of communications for the Brewers.
"Last Monday, Hank wandered up to one of the security guards outside of the Brewers Maryvale office building," Barnes said. "The area has a lot of strays, but Hank was different because he had no fear of people. He found us, not the other way around. His popularity extends through the clubhouse, to the front office, to the back offices. At any time, you could see him sitting at a locker with players in the clubhouse, hanging out in the middle of drills on the practice fields, or taking a nap at the foot of someone's desk in the offices.
"He's as friendly and social as any dog you will find. If you're walking him, you need to be patient. He trots up to everyone he sees, looks to be petted or fed a little something, then moves on to the next person. Hank's days as a stray are over. We have discussed plans for where he will live, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."
So, welcome to Milwaukee, Hank.
Oh, by the way: A little cockapoo that looks remarkably like you wandered into my family last year. My wife named him Frankie. He has the same kind of personality. Frankie has to greet every human, every dog and even every cat he encounters on our walks, and his little tail wags a mile a minute. I told one neighbor that Frankie thinks everyone loves him. "That's because we do," the neighbor said with a smile.
So, Hank, meet Frank. And Tyler, if Hank's promotional calendar gets too filled up, Frank would be happy to stand in. He won't disappoint. Let's get this season started!
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