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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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After getting a taste for the hot dog, Hank set his sites a more "deliziosa" treat. (PHOTO: Jeremy Jannene)

April Fools Hank prank goes viral


Editors' note: This story originally ran on April 1 as part of the annual OnMilwaukee.com April Fools edition with the headline "Hank the Dog mauls racing sausages in Opening Day mishap." Usually, we expire all of our April Fools content on April 2 – the jokes aren't so funny the day after! – but after national coverage on Deadspin, FOX Sports and elsewhere, we decided to keep the joke alive a little longer. After all, we love Hank, too!

It's a dog eat dog world out there. In the case of yesterday's Brewers home opener, quite literally, as beloved stray dog mascot Hank the Dog attacked the Hot Dog racing sausage right before the start of the traditional sixth inning sausage race.

At first, nothing appeared out of the ordinary as the five sausages happily bounded onto the field and trotted down to the starting line. Just before the left field gate shut, however, eyewitnesses at the game noticed the adorable white dog bolt out and charge down the baseline toward the sausages.

"When he first came out, we thought it was adorable. I mean, look at him; he's so cute and fluffy, and he's got that little jersey. Awww, you just want to hug him … well, wanted to at least," said Brewers fan Keith Swailman, before staring off into the distance with a look of wearied sadness in his eyes usually reserved for returning war veterans and parents emerging from the recent Miley Cyrus concert.

According to fans at the game, the crowd loudly cheered the unexpected Hank sighting until the little rapscallion leapt toward Hot Dog and dug its teeth into the racing sausage's foam casing. The coos of "Awwww!" were soon replaced by horrified silence, punctuated by the occasional call prodding the crowd to get their Lemon Chill right here.

Hot Dog began silently flailing and shaking back and forth in the hopes of getting Hank to let go, but the precious little puppy refused to release its vicious, blood-hungry jaws. The other four sausages attempted to swat the mini-mascot off of Hot Dog, whose frail-looking human limbs began to twitch, but their attempts were no match for the murderous hunger fueling the ferociously fluffy canine.

"We all tried to get him off of Hot Dog, but it's actually really difficult to move in these things, and Hank was not letting go of easily the biggest sausage he'd ever seen," said Haley Kent, who was inside the Chorizo costume for the race. "You have to admire his tenacity and persistence. You have to fear it, too. Actually, mostly fear. But also admire."

After the flailing proved ineffective, Hot Dog fell to the ground, soon disappearing into a cloud of dirt and shredded bits of foam. After the game, Brewers left fielder Khris Davis described the scene as "the saddest thing he'd ever seen. Like a 'Looney Tunes' skirmish, only a lot less funny."

Children could be heard crying in the stands as horrified parents rushed little ones up the stairs toward the concourses, shielding innocent young eyes from the carnage.

"I told my son that was just ketchup on Hot Dog but he didn't believe me," said Watertown mom, Mary Lindley-Price. "He's traumatized. Thanks, Hank."

The rest of the sausages ran to the dugout to get baseball bats to help swat Hank off Hot Dog. By the time they returned, however, the dog had briefly released its grip from Hot Dog, and was loudly and menacingly growling at the Little Weenies across the diamond. Luckily, they were quickly escorted into the Brewers dugout before the Weenies could be harmed. Hank then resumed tearing into the Hot Dog meal he had originally started.

Five minutes and approximately four horse tranquilizer darts later, Hank was finally settled and delicately carried off the field while three of the un-mangled racing sausages attempted to pick up the scraps of foam scattered across the diamond. The fourth, Polish, raced to the finish line and claimed the first sausage race victory of the 2014 season. Racing officials will convene tomorrow to discuss the legality and circumstances of the race, but as it stands, Polish reigns victorious.

The horrified onlookers at the game, however, all agree that there were no winners.

"We didn't just lose the game; we lost our innocence, as well," Swailman said, comforting his crying 9-year-old son, dabbing at his watery eyes with one of the four Hank T-shirts he had bought previously that day. "If you can't trust a cute stray dog in a Brewers jersey to behave himself when in the vicinity of man-sized meat snacks, what can you trust?"

Hot Dog was eventually driven off the field on a grounds crew cart and immediately treated for some scratches and bites, as well as a mild case of rabies. He is expected to be placed on the 15-day DL. There is no word on whether the Brewers will choose to go with only four racers during that time, or if they will call up Salami from the AAA Nashville to briefly fill Hot Dog's place.

As for Hank, Brewers officials said they have not come to a decision on whether they will continue to use the one-time stray dog for promotional means. Team investigators also are looking into possible suspects for who let Hank out of his cage, though insiders say most of the evidence – namely, a stray blond mustache hair and an abandoned four-fingered glove – points to a jealous Bernie Brewer as the possible culprit.

Even after the brutal events of the day, however, team officials and fans at the game still unanimously noted that Hank is still better and cuter than "whatever the hell that new Cubs mascot thing is."


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