I selected tickets for this evening as part of my 20-pack because it was the first night former Brewers Geoff Jenkins will be back in town.
Jenk’ was a fan favorite in Milwaukee for the first 10 years of his career, and the Brewers declined his $9 million option at the end of last season. I think of Phil Leotardo on the Sopranos saying “I did 20 fucking years!” when Johnny Sack breaks the Omertà in federal court, or The Daily Show’s “10 Fucking Years” segment.
He didn’t complain when he was benched in favor of Corey Hart, and he didn’t complain about constantly being mistaken for Brett Favre his entire career in Wisconsin by assorted chowderheads. Last year, Jenkins was featured in an inside-the-clubhouse television special. It showed him coming to the Park, getting suited up and eating breakfast cereal. “And now,” he said, “I do the crossword puzzle.”
Then we saw him chatting up some Pittsburgh Pirates during batting practice, asking each other about their families. “Hey,” said one Pirate, jogging over to him. “Let me tell y’ something — you look great, man.”
One year ago today, Jenkins was getting hot at rotten ivy patch, which was engulfed in a misty haze April showers and Lake Michigan fog. He made this catch:
At a Brewers game a few weeks later, I tried to buy a jersey T-shirt at the Fanzone.
“I’m really looking for a Capuano, but I would also like a Jenkins.”
“Are you sure you want a Jenkins?” a teenage sales girl asked me. “He’s probably not going to be around for much longer.”
“Uh, are you allowed to speak to me like that?”
Turns out he wasn’t around too much longer. But for a standup guy who never complained and gave his all to this barley-breathed city, He deserves a shot on a contender. He deserves a standing ovation at his first at-bat. I’m thinking of picking up a Jenkins Philles T-shirt. And if he comes up in the 8th or 9th of a close game tonight, he’ll deserve to have his goatee booed off.
Speaking of guys who won’t be around any longer: Happy trails, Gabe Gross! Let’s see how they like your christian rock on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. And you know what this means: We’re keeping Kapler. ¡L’Chaim!