He came to the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training facility dirty, lost, and injured. He won the hearts of fans and became an unofficial mascot. But is the current Hank the dog we all adore the same Hank the dog from 2014?
There’s a theory being passed around Brewers fans: At some point between the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the original Hank died, and was replaced by a new Hank. Photos are the primary evidence. (Brew Crew Ball compiled the conspiracy’s main points on Monday, and pinpoints Hank’s death to June 30, 2014, because the Brewers started sucking after then.) Hank was filthy and mangy, and then his coat inexplicably turned clean and white:
A photo of Hank, dated March 7, 2014:
A photo of Hank, dated March 25, 2015:
One possible explanation for the change in Hank’s appearance would be that with a loving home and consistent diet, Hank gained weight, improved his health, grew older, and became an apparently different dog. Another one would be that stray Hank died and a cool, new Hank took over.
When I asked a Brewers spokesperson on Wednesday for comment, he acknowledged the Hank Is Dead theories, and hinted at plans to clear up the speculation:
We’re well aware of the report, and of the apparent dissimilarities in the photos in that specific blog. We’re also looking forward to showing everyone that Hank is, indeed, Hank.
In a statement to SB Nation on Tuesday, the team was more coy:
The “real” Hank? What is real and what is an impostor? Is the Tooth Fairy the next target? Santa Claus? The Great Pumpkin?
The club also tweeted this cryptic photo of Hank on Wednesday:
The Brewers must address the issue. The people want to know.
Update (2:33 p.m.):