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The Milwaukee Brewers recalled veteran infielder Brad Miller
from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday and optioned struggling outfielder
Domingo Santana there in an exchange of former 30-homer players.

Miller ,
acquired from Tampa Bay on June 10 for first baseman-outfielder Ji-Man Choi, was
in the Brewers’ starting lineup at second base and batting sixth Saturday
against St. Louis.

”That first day, no matter how much sleep you have, no matter the travel, it
doesn’t really matter, you’re running on adrenaline,” Miller said before the
game. ”Excited to get in there right away and get to work.”

Santana hit .278 last season for Milwaukee with 30 homers and 85 RBIs, but
never got going this season. He hit .249 and just three homers and 17 RBIs in
189 at-bats.

”At some point, we’re going to need Domingo and we’d prefer that he was kind
of rolling and clicking when that times comes,” manager Craig Counsell said.

”It’s tough to do it when you’re not playing that much. It’s not something
that you want to have to do, and he was a big part of our success last year.
But, we just need to get him going and the best way to do that is have him
playing,” he said.

With Jesus Aguilar and his team-best 16 homers earning more time at first
base Authentic
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, recently activated Eric Thames has been
playing more outfield, reducing Santana’s role.

The 28-year-old Miller batted .256 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 48 games
this season with Tampa Bay. Miller hit .243 with 30 homers and 81 RBIs for the
Rays in 2016, but dipped to .201 with nine homers and 40 RBIs last season.

”Each year is different and you kind of go with the ebbs and flows – but I
think just being in this environment and in this culture they’ve created here,
it seems pretty positive for everybody involved,” Miller said.

Miller has started at seven different positions in the majors. He played 105
games at shortstop with Tampa Bay in 2016, then 98 games at second base with the
Rays last season. This year, he played 35 games at first and six at second with
Tampa Bay.

”What we may ask of him is to move around the field more regularly at
different positions on a daily basis, whether it be double switches late in the
game or in a starting role,” Counsell said. ”But, he is versatile, he’s a pretty
good athlete. He has done this all before, it’s just kind of getting him
comfortable with doing it again.”

Basketball Hall of Famers George Gervin and
George McGinnis see a lot of their old league in today’s NBA.

Their former teammates notice it, too.

Five decades ago Braydon
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, they were the guys running the floor, embracing the
3-pointers and welcoming underclassmen. They understood the entertainment value
of high-scoring games, dunk contests and halftime shows. They valued rivalries,
camaraderie and the sense everyone in the sport was working toward a single

Today the business model first adopted by the American Basketball Association
has largely become the standard operating procedure for the world’s biggest
basketball league.

”When the merger happened, we knew the NBA was going to have a strong
foundation,” Gervin said Saturday in Indianapolis. ”People talk about how Magic
(Johnson) and (Larry) Bird saved the NBA. I think it’s ludicrous because we gave
the NBA an infusion of excitement that made the league fun again.”

Just about any player in town for the league’s 50-year reunion knows the

Aside from the league’s trademark red, white and blue basketball that served
as a center piece for the dinner, just about everything else the league
innovated with has eventually made its way to its rival league.

Some of it was borne out of necessity.

Most ABA teams lacked the size or the star power of the more established NBA,
so they relied on tempo, showmanship and pizazz to attract fans. Gervin earned
the nickname ”Iceman” in San Antonio. Julius Erving became better known as ”Dr.

Playoff series got nicknames, too, and there were times the backstories
seemed as every bit as wild as the social culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

”The league had to have an identity,” Gervin said. ”You call it wild. I call
it fun.”

The biggest secret was that amid all the fanfare Matt
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, there was some darn good basketball being

Numerous former ABA stars including Erving, Rick Barry, Moses Malone have
been inducted into the Hall of Fame. So has Spencer Haywood, one of the sport’s
most important pioneers.

Haywood became the first underclassmen to declare he was leaving school after
his sophomore season at the University of Detroit and was shunned by the NBA,
prompting a Supreme Court case Haywood would eventually win in 1971.

The NBA still balked.

”It set the tone for a lot of things that are happening today,” said
McGinnis, another underclassman who joined the ABA’s Pacers after turning pro.
”Roger Brown and Connie Hawkins weren’t allowed to play in their prime in the
NBA because they got blackballed by the NBA. And Roger didn’t get to play at all
because he was 28 or 29 when he came to the Pacers. But it was those type of
guys who laid the foundation for guys like myself and those who are entering the
league today.”

Haywood was back in Indy, too, enjoying he stories and seeing old

He also was here for a purpose. While the Dropping Dimes Foundation, which
put on the reunion, is trying to help provide health care for former ABA
players, Haywood has taken it a step further.

As the new chairman of the board for the NBA’s Retired Players Association,
he is putting on a full-court press to advocate bringing players from the now
defunct league into the NBARPA’s health insurance policy. The league’s current
players contribute more than $16 million to the fund.

”We have about 100 or 150 players who don’t have much Youth
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, so my mission now is to get all of the
ABA players covered with health insurance,” he said. ”And I know they (the
current) players will take care of it.”

But this night was a celebration.

With highlight reels playing over and over, many old players donning their
shiny championship rings and the Pacers bringing out one of their three
championship trophies, the talk inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse was more about
satisfaction that the league had accomplished something many doubted it

”You look at everything, you look at the halftime events, that’s all from
us,” Haywood said. ”The 3-point contents, the dunk contests that was all us.
It’s all ABA, baby.”

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