Microchip your pets, you guys.
Because you never know. Maybe someday they’ll serve as the unofficial mascot of a professional sports team.
And maybe, say, like, two years later, conspiracy theories will swirl on the Internet, suggesting they might be an impostor.
I mean, it can happen. Ask the Milwaukee Brewers!
“Hank the ballpark pup is still Hank the ballpark pup,” Milwaukee Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said at a press conference Friday, announcing that the best dog in baseball was, in fact, not an impostor. “There is no substitute. He’s the original. And we’re thrilled that he’s still part of the Brewers family.”
Yeah, no kidding. The Brewers totally had a press conference about whether their unofficial dog mascot had been swapped out or something. It was awesome and I loved it. What a time to be alive.
If you’re not familiar with Hank and the various conspiracies surrounding his possible replacement, here’s the deal: In 2014, a dog showed up at the Brewers’ spring training facility; He was obviously great, as evidenced by this important series of delightful dog-slash-baseball pictures, and the team took him in.
Hank was eventually adopted by the team’s general counsel, and has basically spent the past few years starring in adorable photo ops, working on his burgeoning theater career, and also being a very good dog.
But over time, some have noticed some changes in our pal Hank. Here, just check out these comparison pics:
If you’re looking at that and thinking, “huh, is that the same dog or …?” you weren’t alone!
Hank-related conspiracy theories, probably best captured on this Brew Crew Ball blog post, “Bark and Switch: Hank the Ballpark Pup is an impostor,” bubbled over in the past few days. Well, I wrote about it, at least. So that’s something?
Now, there is nothing wrong with the new Hank. Hank II is, like his predecessor, a Very Good Baseball Dog. But do not lie to me and try to tell me that the dog on the left and the dog on the right are the same dog. The coloring in the face and the ears is all wrong, the face isn’t shaped the same way, and his ears don’t lay in the same spot. They didn’t just dunk him in a bucket of bleach and poof him up a bit. These are different dogs, folks.
“I think it’s been about three or four months since people started to notice that, wow, this dog the Brewers are calling Hank is very different looking,” Sarandos told The Post in an email this week. “And it wasn’t a ton of people going on about it, and the ones who were didn’t really have a lot of reach outside of Wisconsin, so yeah, it hadn’t really leaked outside our own little quiet corner of the internet.”
Yeah, so. Basically what I’m saying is … that changed.
That brings us to Friday, when the Brewers released a letter from Hank’s veterinarian, confirming that his microchip number was the same and his dental records matched up.
“This is definitely the original Hank,” the letter, posted below, read.
“This is definitely the best story I will ever cover,” I thought to myself, as I typed this blog post.
Schlesinger later told The Post that he initially thought this would be a “nice one-hour story on social media” that would then be “put to bed.” But that’s not really how they play the game over on Dog Twitter, the Brewers soon learned, and Hank was a beloved local figure. Soon the team (and Schlesinger) were hearing all sorts of theories — getting phone calls and emails and letters from people who were concerned about their favorite pup.
“When it comes to Hank, we find that people have an incredible attraction and devotion [to him],” he said.
Hank, whom Schlesinger said was “thriving and having a great time in Milwaukee,” made an appearance at the press conference too, in case you still don’t believe. And for what it’s worth, Schlesinger didn’t really mind conspiracy theory buzz, he said. Hank helps create new fans, he said, plus a press conference like this one helps bring attention to the Wisconsin Humane Society and animal rescue.
“Once again, this is the real Hank,” Schlesinger told reporters Friday, “there has never been another.”