MARYVALE, AZ -- Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke says he will have a lot of confidence when he calls on his bullpen this baseball season.
John Axford has thrown 131 and 2/3 innings in 124 games for the Brewers in the last two seasons. Kameron Loe has thrown 130 and 1/3 innings for Milwaukee over the last two years. The two are pretty much in a dead-heat to see who can spice things up more in the bullpen - a place that doesn't need a ton of extra spicing up to begin with.
"Everybody is a little bit different. We all have our own personalities and I think when we are all around each other, we all tend to enjoy things a little bit too much at times," Axford said.
"I think we bring the free-ness out in each other. I think we try to keep it loose, but I think we are all free spirits," Loe said.
There's a ton of downtime in baseball to begin with, particularly so if you are in the bullpen. Can you imagine how Loe and Axford would exist if they couldn't find something to do with all that downtime?
"We don't get to be down in the dugout when guys hit home runs. We don't get to high-five the players, so we do our own thing and we like to keep things loose that way. We know we are going to be spending the most time with the guys in the bullpen, so it's nice to have a close-knit group. We go out for dinners together and we get things done early, so we do our ab work, our running, our throwing - all the conditioning that we need to get done, so we know we are going to be a close and tight-knit group all the way through the season," Axford sad.
Loe and Axford each are at least 6'5" tall, and were similarly clad and in shades during Brewers' Spring Training in Maryvale, Arizona. Each is married and has one young child, and each is open to letting the outside world in on who they are.
"For me, it's been kind of a social media thing. You don't really get to show a particular aspect of it when you are out there on the field. People only see you on TV, or hear about you on the radio. They only see the one side. It's nice to kind of show fans a different side of you - get in front of the cameras and show fans something a little bit different or do something a little bit different on social media," Axford said.
"I just try to be myself all the time, and try to be a good guy. My mom told me to be a good guy, and I try to do that. If anybody is bothered by it, then I guess that's kind of their problem. Just be yourself and you can't really go wrong," Loe said.
Loe and Axford have found it's easier to be yourself when you are also around a kindred spirit.
Axford set a Brewers record with 46 saves last season, while Loe was selected as the team's Unsung Hero Award recipient after the 2010 season.