It's official, the story of Hank the Dog, the stray taken in by the Milwaukee Brewers, has moved far beyond a cute spring training tale. Hank is now a legitimate Milwaukee pop culture phenomenon — and he's only lived there for a day.
As The Stew told you Friday, Hank got called up to join the big team in Milwaukee after becoming a fixture at the team's training camp in Arizona. He flew to Milwaukee on Sunday aboard a chartered flight with Brewers executives. Hank has a forever home waiting at the residence of Marti Wronski, vice president and general counsel for the Brewers, and her four children.
Hank's arrival in Milwaukee resembled a rock star visiting town, or a championship-winning team coming home again. "Several hundred people" showed at the airport to greet Hank, according to the Brewers.
There was a cake waiting for Hank, and the mayor of Milwaukee brought him peanut butter cookies. Mayor Tom Barrett and county executive Chris Abele were among the hundreds on hand to greet Hank, probably because they know Hank might be popular enough one day to take their jobs. Some people, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, waited 30 minutes outside the airport's security gates to catch a glimpse of Milwaukee's new most popular dog.
Abele said his three daughters at home don't blink if he says he's headed for the White House, but they were all excited at the idea that he would get to meet Hank. Barrett called Hank family friendly and said the story was more compelling because "it's genuine." He admitted it was the first time he ever greeted a dog at the airport. Both Abele and Barrett have dogs at home.
With all four paws on the ground, Hank stretched his leash to meet Scully, a 9-month-old beagle mix named for Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, said Andrew Rissler. The Los Angeles native was coming back from a visit home. He's a student at Marquette Law School. He waited more than an hour for the two dogs to meet.
The Brewers are tapping into that kind of devotion with a line of official Hank gear — T-shirts, buttons, pennants, etc. It's not just a cash grab, though. The team is giving a portion of the proceeds to the Wisconsin Humane Society, so that other stray dogs might be as lucky as Hank to find new homes. The Hank T-shirts will go on sale Tuesday morning at the Brewers team store.
You can bet Ryan Braun won't get the same treatment when he arrives in Milwaukee.
- - - - - - -
- Milwaukee Brewers