Brewers pitchers and catchers reported to spring training on Wednesday, the official-yet-anticlimactic start to the 2018 season. Position players are scheduled to report on Feb. 19, and the first full-team workout will be Feb. 20.
Until then, spring training coverage is likely to be pretty dull, with the usual focus on the Arizona weather, the state of Maryvale Baseball Park and, of course, how hope springs eternal – especially for a team that made aggressive moves last month to position itself as a contender in 2018. So while baseball is indeed back (!), there won’t be much substantive news coming out for the next several days.
But there is one Brewers correspondent who’s a must-follow throughout spring training. Relief pitcher and semi-amateur comedian Tim Dillard is a social-media superstar and annually one of the brightest bright spots of the preseason. Last year, OnMilwaukee interviewed Dillard, both as himself, and as several of his funniest impressions, and he was phenomenal.
The 34-year-old Dillard last pitched the in the major leagues in 2012 and he probably won't be on the Brewers’ Opening Day roster when this season begins. But he’s delighted both fans and teammates with his jaunty enthusiasm and hilarious creativity, doing Dub Smash videos, fake interviews, goofy Twitter posts and polls and general, genuine entertainment. He even has his own bobblehead.
We’re taking the opportunity of pitchers and catchers reporting to remind everyone to follow Tim Dillard on social media (@DimTillard on Twitter and Instagram) and truly treasure him. While we’re at it, here are a few other great Brewers tweeters: Jimmy Nelson (@Jimmy_J_Nelson), Travis Shaw (@travis_shaw21), Keon Broxton (@KeonDDBroxton) and the inimitable Brett Phillips (@Brett_Phillips8).
Here are just a few of the most recent wonderful reasons to follow Dillard going into spring training:
When I was 9 my brother threw an
orange and knocked me out of a
tree... breakfasts are still difficult. — Tim Dillard (@DimTillard) January 20, 2018
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.