Remember LaTroy Hawkins? The reliever who pitched for the Brewers from 2010 to 2011? Well, he certainly remembers us.
In case you forgot: After an injury-plagued 2010 campaign, he was one of the team’s most important relievers the next year, going 1-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 49 games, helping Milwaukee win the National League Central Division and reach the NL Championship Series in 2011. That season was the best and most memorable in recent franchise history; apparently, the experience and the city of Milwaukee made quite an impression on Hawkins, too.
In the April 24 episode of "The Ringer MLB Show," Hawkins talked with co-hosts Ben Lindbergh and Michael Baumann about a variety of subjects, including underappreciated baseball cities.
Hawkins, who had a 21-year career in the big leagues and is now an MLB on TuneIn LIVE analyst, spoke very fondly of his time in Brew City.
Here is a partial transcript of the conversation from the podcast:
The Ringer: Is there an underrated baseball city or place to be as a professional athlete, or an organization that if you had to do over again you'd want to sign up with?
Hawkins: I have three teams in three small markets that are just diamonds in the rough. They're great baseball cities, and that would be Minnesota, Denver and Milwaukee. But if I had to pick one of the three, I'll take Milwaukee. Milwaukee is one of those cities, they love their sports teams. They are diehard fans. They're a great sports city. It's a small city, small market, so it doesn't get all the fanfare that all those other places get, but it's a great place to be a professional athlete, and play in that city.
Hey, that’s high praise, especially from a guy who played for 11 different teams during his career and is one of only 16 players in baseball history that's a member of the 1,000-games-pitched club.
I bet I know someone that would agree with Hawkins’ assessment: adored new Brewers first baseman Eric Thames, who leads the major leagues in home runs and has professed his love for Milwaukee’s people, beer and apparently its opposing pitchers, whom he is destroying.
Anyway, thanks, LaTroy! We appreciate you, too, and anyone who was on that 2011 team will always be an all-time Brewers great.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.