At the outset of Brewers spring training, the storylines most fans were expecting to follow involved how Matt Garza looked in his early outings, the competition for starting jobs at 1B and 2B, and how well Ryan Braun performed coming back from his suspension. None of us were expecting to have our hearts melted by Hank the dog. By the time opening day comes around (only three weeks now!), we understand the tough decisions will be made and the 25-man roster will work itself out. But the question What Will Become of Hank? is vexing.
Since the lucky stray found his way into the Brewers’ camp last month, he’s become a force of nature. Hank has already participated in charity events, gone for a run with the Klement's Famous Racing Sausages, appeared on t-shirts, and opened a Twitter account. In a few short weeks he’s done more to leave his mark on the world than most of us could possibly hope for.
Given all he’s achieved so far, it would be a shame if his 15 minutes of fame ran out too quickly. As of this writing, Hank’s future with the team is uncertain. Just yesterday, it wasn’t clear where Hank will end up:
The Brewers say they've found a home for him, but the ballclub is otherwise mum on Hank's ultimate destination, saying details are still being finalized.
I can’t be the only one who would be disappointed if Hank doesn’t find his way to Milwaukee after spring training (early results of this poll suggest I’m not the only one). Although he’s a product of Arizona, at this point we must agree he belongs in the Brewers’ hometown. From a promotional perspective, he would have to be nearby for the Brewers to make the best use of him.
It seems like a no-brainer to feature Hank in Fox Sports Wisconsin’s On-Field Instructionals. I might even tune in after Brewers losses to see those…well, probably not, but checking out the video clips online the next day isn’t out of the question.
Internet retailers and even fans have already made their own Hank-themed apparel. If the Brewers offered official Hank merchandise in their Team Store, it would be like a license to print money.
I assume it can’t be much trouble to work Hank into some mid-inning segments during home games. It would be a welcome change from the “Bernie’s bongos” or Kiss Cam bits. Why not bring Hank’s sausage race act to Miller Park? Maybe not every home game, but once a home stand might be a way to draw fans, perhaps on Monday or Tuesday nights when attendance is lighter.
How about photos or videos of Hank doing rude things to other teams’ mascots? That pic of Hank and the Cubs chew toy the Brewers put out on Twitter last week speaks for itself.
(Image: Milwaukee Brewers Twitter)
Can you imagine a pic of Hank soiling a Joey Votto bobblehead, fire-hydrant-style? Or dragging his little doggy ass back and forth over an Adam Wainwright jersey? Realistically, those ideas are too vulgar for the Brewers to be a part of – but c’mon, you’d re-tweet that like a Samsung publicity stunt, wouldn’t you?
How about a series of photos of Hank and various young women with low necklines? This picture from last month of Hank with model Melanie Iglesias hints at the commercial possibilities.
(Image: Scott Paulus / Milwaukee Brewers)
Twelve shots like that and you’ve got a calendar.
Hank may not have asked to be a marketing gimmick, but now that he is one, let’s hope the Brewers can capitalize on the opportunity. (Not that there’s no dignity in being a marketing gimmick.) I can’t believe Bernie’s feelings would be hurt by sharing the spotlight with a co-mascot. With the miserable 2013 season not exactly a distant memory yet, anything more the Brewers can do to build fan enthusiasm would be greatly appreciated.