Corey Hart, We Hardly Knew Ye


You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain. The Hart Knight Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday was a sad day for me. I can no longer wear my sunglasses at night. Nor can I sport a sweet blonde chin strap beard with the same zest I once did.

Number 1 is gone. He has taken his talents to Alki beach (Seattle reference, look it up), so he can play alongside Robinson “Scrooge McDuck” Cano and Logan “Master of the Twitterverse” Morrison.

While I am interested to see how this plays out for many of my dear friends who still pine for Seattle Mariners glory, a piece of my soul was lost to the Puget Sound (Seattle again, look it up) on Wednesday.

There are many amazing moments that we will never forget: two All-Star games,  over 150 career Home runs, 950 career hits, a 22 game hitting streak in 2007, back-to-back 20-steals/20-homer seasons, and who could forget his 3-home run game in May of that magical 2011 season.

All of those things are well and good, but for me Corey Hart always held a special place in my family for something that had nothing to do with his abilities to play baseball.

My wife and I went to our first Brewers game together, all the way back in 2006. Corey Hart was not yet an everyday player, but he was slowly making a name for himself. I remember we were sitting in the first row, right above the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. My wife commented to me how tall Bronson Arroyo was and then I told her that she hadn’t seen Corey Hart yet. She, of course, made the obligatory “I wear my sunglasses at night” joke (see above). When Corey finally emerged, my wife asked me how a guy that tall could run so fast. To which I had no clear-cut answer. But in that moment, we bonded over his giraffe like stature and his towering physical presence. While he was never able to overthrow Albert Pujols, Doug Fister, and Charlie Furbush as her favorite players (she just likes their last names…give it a second) he always had a special place in her…(sigh for the pun)heart. So the news that he would be going to Seattle, the place we called home for 6 years, made her very sad (but not as sad as when Doug Fister got traded to the Tigers, but that is a story for another day).

Keep in mind, she was not my wife yet. So this was a very important step in knowing that I could bring her to baseball games and she would not sit there and text until we inevitably left in the middle of the 8th inning. Once we made it through this game, I knew I had to have her. Corey Hart is part of the reason I am married today. True story.

For me, Corey Hart was an amazing Brewer, maybe one of the 10-15 best position players in the history of the organization (not a huge compliment in hindsight). It had little to do with his glove, because it was pretty bad at times, but it had everything to do with his bat and what he meant to the fans.

Many Brewers fans are upset that he left over the money, but wouldn’t we all do the same? I won’t bore you with the terms of the Brewers offer versus the contract he is going to sign with the Mariners, but let’s just say that Corey made the best decision for himself and his family.

“Hometown discounts” are nice in theory, but they are nothing more than a fantasy. They are no different from a Grimm fairy tale filled with pixies, dragons, and magical cake.  In fact, in today’s business driven sports world…your odds are better at finding magical cake than getting a hometown discount.  So please, do not be upset with Mr. Hart, he did what any of us would have done.  That’s all I have to say about that.

On this day of reflection, let us remember Corey Hart’s sound advice about scorpion removal, “You hit ‘em with a hammer. They’re tough. Try to squish them and they’re still going to sting you.”  This may just save your life someday.

Let us also remember his love of comic books and comic book action figures.  For that is what made him one of my favorite Brewers.

You will be missed Corey…

"He was the tattooed giraffe we deserved, but not the one we need right now. So we’ll hate him, because he can take it.  Because he’s not our hero anymore. He’s a silent guardian.  A watchful protector.  A Hart Knight.  –Commissioner Gordon…kind of"