The Brewers are 1-8 this season against their division rivals, and on Monday they lost a game in which Hader pitched for the first time this season (21-1).

jets_004Heyward beating Hader was as unlikely an outcome as any you’ll see — or at least that was the case with the old Heyward. The new, handsy one is a different hitter.

Timing is good, but when you use your hands, you don’t get body involved, and [I] can adjust mid at-bat and throw my hands at the baseball, he said. Trying to use my hands. After that, just able to focus on who you’re facing on the mound.

His teammates know what Heyward has been through and can appreciate the way he keeps working in the face of adversity. It doesn’t matter if it lasts. It’s happening now, and it’s helping the Cubs win.

In April of this year, the team announced it would be the first NFL franchise with a dog park at home games.

Smorol and the Chiefs tried this themselves last season, when they played one game as the Syracuse Salt Potatoes, a reference to a tasty specialty first popularized by Irish immigrants working in Syracuse’s salt mines during the 1800s. It’s the most successful thing we’ve ever done, says Smorol. We knew it would be fun, but we had no idea it would take off nationally, or even internationally, where we’re shipping Salt Potatoes caps to other countries. People were coming in and saying, ‘I have a brother who’s from Syracuse, but he lives in Colorado now and he misses salt potatoes.’

It’s not clear whether Syracusans feel a similar connection to the Brannock Device (some admittedly unscientific polling suggests that many of the city’s residents don’t even realize the device is a local product), but Smorol wanted to honor it this season anyway. He had decided over the winter to run a series of promotions honoring the heritage and culture of Central New York, and the Brannock fit right in.

The whole staff thought I was crazy, he says. It was like, ‘Brannock Device Night, what are you even talking about?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know what it’ll actually entail, but we’ll figure it out.’ Initially I thought of it as kind of a throwaway day, so we didn’t talk to the Brannock company or anything, because it was just going to be a salute to this object. We had no plans to do anything on the field with our uniforms.

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