By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Jul 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM caught up with Milwaukee Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount to talk charity, golf, his amateur baseball team, remembering the 1982 American League Championship season and what's wrong with the Brewers in 2012. Can you tell us about your involvement in the Swing With The Legends charity golf tournament down in Lake Geneva, which is Aug. 12-13 at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa?

Robin Yount: It's a really big event. The baseball alumni does events all over the country and most of them benefit the same things but it's a national organization and normally a player in the local area takes charge of putting one together with the assistance of the alumni association. In this case, Kenny Sanders has put many, many years of time and effort into this particular event. It's been around a long, long time. It's a great event. It's held at Grand Geneva, a beautiful resort, a lot of players come in – not only Brewers – the alumni always recruits players from all over the country to play in their events.

I do a few alumni events throughout the year and this is one of the biggest ones I've ever been involved with. This year they're trying to get as many of the '82 Brewers team back for this particular event since it's sort of an anniversary year for us. That will be fun. I hope a bunch of guys show up because it's always good to see some of the guys from that team. This year could be a little more special. It's always fun because you see all the old players you used to play against and this one they're putting a special twist on so hopefully we'll get some guys that don't always come.

OMC: You became a public figure 38 years ago when you broke into the major leagues at the age of 18, you easily could have said "I've lived my life in the spotlight, I'm not going to be out in public anymore." What has made you want to stay active in these events and give your time to people?

RY: It's easy – it's the right thing to do. If you have the opportunity to help out the less fortunate, I think most people take advantage of that if they can. I'm certainly not doing any more than a lot of other guys out there and there's other guys out there doing far more than I do. There's a lot of ballplayers – it's more than just ballplayers – it's athletes from all over.

A lot of these events attract celebrities outside the sports world. I certainly don't deserve any credit. It's a way to raise funds for charitable organizations. I'm just being one of many that is being involved in helping to do that. I certainly don't deserve any more credit than someone else. If somebody deserves some real credit in this particular event, it's Ken Sanders. He's the one who has put many, many hours and many, many years of effort into making this happen. Most of us are just showing up to have a lot of fun and while we're having fun we're also helping out good causes. Don't give us too much credit – it's not anything that's putting out in away.

It's bigger than most of these events that I've been to and the best part about it is that it's local to me in that it's the area where I spent all my years playing. In a way it's coming back home again to be involved in something good. I love coming back to Wisconsin, so it's just another opportunity for me to come back and enjoy a few days in Wisconsin again.

OMC: Speaking of charity, Robinade is still out there right?

RY: It's been out there going on four years to benefit Wisconsin's children's charities, mainly the MACC Fund. Every chance I get I try to remind people what that's all about. Every time we get a chance to get it out there it doesn't hurt – trying to sell lemonade for charity.

OMC: You've returned this summer for several charity golf outings – where does golf fit into your life at this point?

RY: I played a lot growing up, played a lot of golf as a kid. These days, 99 percent of the golf that I play is these charity events. It's fallen down the list of priorities quite a ways over the last 10 years or so.

OMC: Do you play to a handicap?

RY: When I was a member at a club you always had a handicap but it has been growing steadily over the last 20 years and I haven't been a member for a while to have an established one these days.

OMC: You're a minority owner of the Lakeshore Chinooks, a wood bat summer league team for college players in the Northwoods League. How has that come along so far in this first season?

RY: It's kind of what I was expecting it to be – the stadium I knew was going to be first class, and it is. The brand of baseball, I had a pretty good idea it was going to be decent, which it is. I wasn't sure how the attendance would go and as far as I know we're where everyone who is running this thing (day to day) says we're meeting expectations there.

Sometimes starting new projects like this, you're going to have some growing pains along the way but I have no doubt that in a very short time, even just few years, when this team gets established and other colleges know about it, I honestly believe this is going to be the place to play as far as the Northwoods League goes. I think the college coaches are going to know about this team fairly quickly and have a pretty good feeling they're going to want to send their kids there.

OMC: What was the appeal of getting involved with a team like this, since it's a process you didn't have to go through going straight from high school to the major leagues? Was it about giving kids a chance to get some exposure they may not normally get?

RY: It was all of that. The more I learned about this opportunity, the more sense it made as a way to help promote baseball, not only in the Milwaukee area, but in general, to young people. Obviously the league itself you're trying to help the young player continue to progress in their baseball careers, but not just on the field but we're using young people to help run the organization. College students are getting a feel of the business side of it too, getting intern experience, whether it be ticket sales, promotional stuff, trainers, mascots, the whole thing.

The majority of the people we're using to run this thing are young kids, college students. It's not only going to help the players themselves develop their career, but it's giving young people an opportunity on the business side to see if this is the direction they want to go in with their careers. It was more than just for the players that I saw the opportunity to help promote baseball. I really liked the idea and it was an opportunity to do that.

OMC: You mentioned how the Swing With The Legends golf event is going to try and bring a lot of players from the 1982 team together – are the Brewers doing anything formal with you all on this 30th anniversary?

RY: Not that I know of. I think if there was I think we would have know about that. Maybe they forgot. I hope they didn't forget us already.

OMC: You're laughing – does it feel that long ago?

RY: The older you get the faster time goes by. It obviously does not feel like 30 years ago. The nice thing about I guess is that it doesn't feel that long ago and there are still fond memories of those times. I haven't lost it enough to not remember an awful lot of fun. But it does go by very quickly. It does not feel like it's been 30 years.

OMC: Do you remember something that may not make the highlight reel that maybe meant quite a bit to that team reaching the playoffs?

RY: To be very honest with you, all of that stuff runs together. Detail has never been a strong point of mine. I can't even remember much detail of the World Series. It was the most exciting time of my career but to try and pick out any details to it, I have a hard time doing it!

OMC: You've talked about the camaraderie on that team in the past, can you elaborate a bit more as to how you all have stayed so close decades after playing together?

RY: There was certainly a closeness. I don't think it was just our team. A lot of it has to do with free agency, not allowing a team or players as a group to become as close because rosters change a lot more year to year nowadays than they did back then. You don't develop the same relationships you're your teammates that you may have back then. In that regard that's part of what has created these friendships that you look forward to maintaining after your careers. It's just a little different today.

The roster changes so much that possibly the players don't become as close or develop these personal friendships the same as years ago. It's just a little bit different that way. If you go back, I know the generation before ours, when I talk to players that are still around, they've still got a lot of close friends that they hang out with today, that they played with. I think it's more of a change in that regard that the friendships don't develop the same because of the lack of time together in today's game versus back in those days.

OMC: I can't speak to lasting friendships, but it seems like the 2008 and 2011 Brewers had a perception that they were a fun clubhouse and got along. How important is that element to winning?

RY: Personally, I think it's extremely important. Team chemistry is something that needs to be taken into account when you're putting a team together. You try to make that part of it work, too. I'm a firm believer in if you enjoy the people you're around, then it certainly makes it easier to do your job. All of that is related to chemistry. Certainly winning creates good team chemistry, or at least makes it easier.

But I still think there are the intangibles there that do create a positive atmosphere and certainly creates better player or better production in whatever it is you're doing. Yeah, I certainly believe it in it and the last few years, the little bit that I've been around, I've seen a good team chemistry in the clubhouse with the Brewers.

OMC: Right now the team is struggling, fans are frustrated, but the team has lost so many starters to injury.

RY: It's very difficult to compete at that level when you've lost four of the guys you counted on to be impact players for 162 games. It makes it very difficult. Everybody has their injuries, no question about it, but certain injuries impact teams more than others. We haven't had a lot of good luck in that area to this point.

OMC: Can chemistry help that?

RY: The key is not necessarily liking each other, it's maintaining a positive attitude and having leadership in there. Let's face it, when you have rosters as big as you've got in baseball, 25 men and coaches, everybody's not going to love everybody. It's not always going to be the perfect world, but that doesn't mean the chemistry can't work.

Everybody doesn't have to love each other but you gotta be able to work together and understand what it takes to get the most out of each other. Just because everybody likes the same kind of music doesn't mean there's good chemistry, so there's more to it than liking each other, you know what I mean? It's not that simple. Everybody could be best friends but if you can be horrible as a team. There's more to it than just the friendship side to it.

The leadership I think, having a bonafide leader in the clubhouse that won't allow guys to get down just because you're going through a rough streak, you continue to push each other to be the best you can no matter what the circumstances is far more important than the quote/unquote friendships.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.