Cuddles, car rides and… knives? Milwaukee Brewers share stories about their pets

Geno, a German Shepherd/Sheltie mix, caused outfielder Sal Frelick’s mom to miss his MLB debut because they couldn’t find anyone to dog-sit. Darth Kittypuss blocks sidearm lefty Hoby Milner’s view of his television, a trait popular with many cats. (Photo courtesy of Frelick family and Milner family)

PHOENIX – Major League Baseball players are just like us: They love their pets unconditionally.

Whether they’re performing tricks, purring, venturing where they’re not supposed to or, well, prompting an unexpected altercation with a knife, pets are often on the minds of their owners, especially those on the Milwaukee Brewers.

Sidearmed left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner has a black cat named Darth Kittypuss, a play on the name of Star Wars character Darth Sidious. Often shortened to “Kitty,” Milner and his wife were originally foster parents to him.

“When we were fostering him, he wouldn’t let us get close to him and he’d hiss at you,” Milner said about his first days with Kitty. “We had to get a blanket, cover him, wrap him up to where he can’t move and he’d be nice and let you pet him. The people at the Humane Society called it a purr-ito, so we’d do that every time.”

Mae (left) and Missy are looking forward to joining first baseman Rhys Hoskins on more road trips this year. (Photo courtesy of Hoskins family)

Mae, left. and Missy are looking forward to joining first baseman Rhys Hoskins on more road trips this year. (Photo courtesy of Hoskins family)

Kitty eventually let Milner and his wife pick him up sans purr-ito, and the two adopted him from the Humane Society when they couldn’t bear to let him go at the end of their time fostering him. Since then, Milner has been the best cat dad and has a sweatshirt saying so to prove it.

Sal Frelick’s family dog, a German Shepherd/Sheltie mix named Geno, gained notoriety when Frelick made his MLB debut on July 22 last year. Frelick’s family flew from Boston to Chicago and drove up to Milwaukee for his first game with one notable absence: his mother, Patty.

“When I got called up to Milwaukee, he kind of became famous because my whole family made it except my mom because she couldn’t find anybody to watch the dog,” Frelick said. “Everyone was like ‘Where’s your mom?’ and I told them she was at home with the dog.”

Geno was rescued from a shelter when Frelick was in seventh grade, and it’s been nothing but good times since. His name originates from two sources: The first because of the Frelick family’s Italian heritage, and the second from Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin’s nickname “Geno.”

“He’s about 50 pounds now and we got him when he was a little squirt,” Frelick said. “He’s at home with my parents during the season and I miss him so much, but I had a good offseason with him.”

When asked if he also owned a hamster, Frelick quickly quashed the rumor.

“Did Joey (Wiemer) tell you that? Don’t listen to him,” Frelick quipped.

Animals aren’t for everyone. Outfielder Wiemer doesn’t have any four-legged friends running around his house at all. Not even a fish, a bird or a snake?

“Nope,” Wiemer said.

“I have a 14-month-old if that counts,” pitcher Bryse Wilson added.

Blue (left) and Nora belong to Brewers pitcher Trevor Megill, and often find themselves in trouble. (Photo courtesy of Megill family)

Blue. left, and Nora belong to Brewers pitcher Trevor Megill, and often find themselves in trouble. (Photo courtesy of Megill family)

Pitcher Trevor Megill has two dogs, Nora, a Bernese Mountain Dog, and Blue, a Bernedoodle, who seem to find their way into trouble, particularly the latter. While in New York, Megill was waiting for a taxi when Blue had to take care of business on the sidewalk.

“The (taxi driver) got mad about the poop, and then there was another driver mad at him for sitting there for 30 minutes taking up too much time,” Megill said. “(Blue) was pooping and then one guy was yelling at this guy that he was being an a-hole. Then I stepped in and told him he was being an a-hole, so he starts telling me to watch my dog. One thing led to another. He pulled a knife on us. Probably should have minded my own business.”

Following the altercation, a hotel bellman said this type of incident with this taxi driver was normal, telling Megill crazy things are a weekly occurrence with the driver.

First baseman Rhys Hoskins has an English Cream Golden Retriever named Mae and a gray cat with white accents named Missy. Since many of the teams in the NL Central are located close to each other, Hoskins and his wife, Jayme, are excited to have more opportunities to bring their pets on the road.

“Lots of funny things tend to happen in the car with the two of them,” Hoskins said of his pets. “They like each other, but they don’t love each other. They tolerate each other. It’s mostly that Mae wants to play with Missy like she’s a dog, and she’s not a dog. All of a sudden the cat will jump and the dog will bark, funny stuff like that.”

Milner’s cat Kitty also enjoys car rides.

Related story

“He’ll sit in my lap, he’ll sit in the chairs, he’ll sit on the dash for a little bit,” Milner said. “It’s kind of fun.”

Outfielder Garrett Mitchell’s Dachshund Dash, named so because his parents’ dogs are named Jack-Jack and Violet from “The Incredibles” movies, can jump “really high” and displays dexterity hitting a balloon back and forth with his owners. Frelick’s dog Geno can play hide-and-seek or snap a blanket between his legs as if it were a football. As for Blue, Megill’s dog? He’s good at finding his way into the used diapers of Megill’s infant daughter Sadie.

“I’d ask Blue why he eats diapers and what he gets from it,” Megill sighed. “Dude’s always in the diapers.”

The other Brewer pets have “fun” eccentricities, too. Milner’s cat is fond of knocking full beverages onto the floor and bouncing himself off the walls.

“We’ll hear him do his little – and then you see this black streak go by,” Milner said, making a caterwaul and a swoosh noise. “He’ll run and do some parkour, we call it ‘paw-kour’ in our house.”

Although Geno is a boy, Frelick says the dog squats to pee like a girl dog would.

“I see all the other guy dogs that are walking and they just go,” Frelick said, imitating a dog lifting its leg. “I don’t know, maybe he just doesn’t like it. I’ve always wondered why he does that.”

The Milner and Hoskins family cats are unlikely to meet up, but what about the dogs of Brewers players? There aren’t any concrete plans yet. However, Megill, Frelick, Mitchell and Hoskins all seem to think it would be a great idea to get their canines together.

“What’s better than a bunch of dogs running around?” Hoskins said.

David Bernauer DAY-vid BER-now-er (he/his/him)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

David Bernauer expects to graduate in May 2024 with a master’s degree in mass communication. Bernauer has previously worked in the Phoenix Sports Bureau and TV Production & Graphics Lab, as well as interning with the Florida Collegiate Summer League. He is a contributing writer with The Sixth Man Show.