Former Milwaukee Brewers star and Hall of Famer Robin Yount says he feels a little like a rookie on opening day.
"I've never done anything outside of baseball," says Yount, "and now I'm going to open up a lemonade stand."
Yount is kidding, of course, but he's also sincere in launching Robinade, a new lemonade that donates a portion of its proceeds to the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund.
Yount officially took the wraps off Robinade at a news conference Friday morning. He says he was approached by Tom Boehland of Madison's Citrus Systems three years ago. The two spent the last several months developing the recipe, and the lemonade hits local shelves this week.
Yount certainly isn't the first athlete to market a drink under his name, but Boehland says that the former shortstop/centerfielder didn't simply put his name on a drink that he didn't try.
"Literally, he and his wife Michelle were weighing in on how they wanted it to taste," says Boehland, a long-time friend of Yount and a Lake Geneva native.
"They wanted to give it to their own flavor profile," says Boehland, who also developed a drink for Arnold Palmer. "It's not just a celebrity-endorsed product; it is his product that he's actively involved in."
"We had about three of four samples, and this was the was the one I chose," says Yount. "I'd be lying if I said I started pouring a little of this, a little of this and a shot of that, but I did get a bunch of samples."
Yount describes the flavor as "old-school lemonade," and it's certainly sweeter than some of the products on the market. That said, it's also quite good, and it will be available at Pick ‘n Save, Sentry, Woodman's and George Webb restaurants.
Because of the Brewers' exclusive contract with Pepsi, you won't find Robinade at Miller Park. Yount says he's considering adding addition flavors down the line.
Yount, who left Milwaukee as a player nearly 15 years ago, remains one of the area's most beloved sports figures. Though he lives in Phoenix, he still maintains a bond with Wisconsin.
"I just know that I've been so lucky to have been drafted by the Brewers," says Yount. "Little did I know when I was 17 years old that things would go the way they did. For whatever reason, and I can't explain it, the fans and my personality hit it off. And I don't even have any personality, but for some reason it's worked here.
"I enjoy coming back here so much, and the people are so nice. I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have played in Wisconsin."
Yount returned more permanently recently when he served as Brewers bench coach in 2006, but he left after one season because, he says, full-time coaching is incredibly time-consuming and he had other projects he wanted to try.
Says Yount, "The biggest fault I have is that I have too many things. I have a lot of other interests outside of the game. Baseball is what I know best, but to coach full-time takes me away. At this stage in my life, I was missing out on things I wanted to be doing.
"That's why I'm doing this," Yount says, half-jokingly, about Robinade. "It lets me be around the Brewers and in Wisconsin, just not full-time."
Is baseball still in 52-year-old "Kid's" blood?
"Absolutely, says Yount. "I would never say never. I don't think it's likely that I'd go back to coaching, but under the right circumstances I could see it happen.
"If somebody wanted me," he adds.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.