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Wives of Crew, Cubs prepping to square off

Players' spouses will play in first Softball Challenge, benefiting RBI Softball programs
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- With Miller Park as a backdrop, the Brewers took batting practice off a tee at Helfaer Field on Tuesday morning.

Except these Brewers weren't the ones in first place in the National League with 35 wins. These were the Brewers' wives, who are preparing for the first Brewers-Cubs Softball Challenge.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- With Miller Park as a backdrop, the Brewers took batting practice off a tee at Helfaer Field on Tuesday morning.

Except these Brewers weren't the ones in first place in the National League with 35 wins. These were the Brewers' wives, who are preparing for the first Brewers-Cubs Softball Challenge.

View Full Game Coverage

Benefiting RBI Softball programs in Milwaukee and Chicago, spouses of Brewers and Cubs players will be facing off in a softball game on June 12 at Helfaer Field. Fans can support the cause by purchasing a Wives Softball Challenge ticket package at brewers.com/themenights. The package includes entry to the softball game and a Loge Outfield Box ticket to that night's game against the Cubs at Miller Park.

Even better: The Major Leaguers will be coaching their wives as the two franchises take their rivalry to a new level.

"It's always fun to have an opposing team that have you have a little bit of a rivalry with," said Anna Anderson, wife of Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson. "The guys always go into every game competitive and wanting to beat people, but there's something about that border rivalry and a team that is that close."

The Brewers' wives held their first practice for the game Tuesday. They split up into two groups of infielders and outfielders, with each player having the opportunity to step into the box and work on their hitting with a coach from the Brewers' RBI Baseball team.

And while some of the wives are no strangers to a baseball diamond after watching their husbands play 162-plus games each year, several of them were foreign to the finer points of the game.

Tweet from @Brewers: Today, the Brewers Wives held a practice in anticipation of the #WivesSBChallenge on June 12.Details & tickets: https://t.co/xV7xtdWEWG pic.twitter.com/jMA6slJ3jC

"Some of us have never touched a softball, some of us have," said Danielle Knebel, wife of Brewers right-hander Corey Knebel. "Just trying to figure out where we should all be, touching the ball, hitting and infielding. The basics."

Knebel looked at home on the field and shagged several balls in the outfield at Helfaer, a youth baseball field where the dimensions are only 200 feet to the center-field wall.

Anderson faced a learning curve, but parental duties in her day-to-day life have helped prepare her.

"[Softball] is not my cup of tea," Anderson said. "But I do play catch and hit balls with [my 18-month-old son] Hunter off his tee, so I do practice."

Video: STL@MIL: Wives on Brewers-Cubs Softball Challenge

Brewers and Cubs players are planning to be in attendance at the game and either coach bases or switch roles and cheer on their spouses from the stands.

Many women have put their lives on hold -- Anderson worked in real estate in Dallas for 10 years and planned on running a company -- to sacrifice for their husbands' careers, so the opportunity to take the field is meaningful.

"I tell myself that my job every day is to make it as easy as possible for [Chase] to be successful on the field, no matter what that means," Anderson said. "We've definitely had to put his career first for now, but baseball has such a short shelf life.

"I know there will come a day when he'll be right behind me helping me accomplish my dreams and whatever that looks like."

Video: ARI@MIL: Danielle Knebel on wives' softball game

But on the field, it will certainly be all about the rivalry between the two clubs, who finished first and second in the NL Central in 2017.

"We always get to see our guys perform, so it's nice that we get to take it out here on this field against them," Knebel said. "It's exciting, but we're taking it kind of seriously, because we are not going to lose."

At the game, Brewers commentators will provide play-by-play commentary, Bernie Brewer will make an appearance and children will race in miniature versions of the Johnsonville Famous Racing Sausages.

The Brewers' wives will also raffle off gift baskets, autographed memorabilia and more to benefit RBI Softball.

Jenkins to attend Draft Day 1
Geoff Jenkins, the Brewers' top pick in the 1995 Draft, is among the 21 former Major League All-Stars scheduled to represent clubs on Monday for the first day of Major League Baseball's three-day Draft, MLB announced.

Jenkins will represent the Brewers along with senior manager of baseball administration Mark Mueller. Day 1 coverage will air live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Monday, with a preview show beginning at 5 p.m. CT.

The Brewers have three selections on Day 1 -- Nos. 21, 60 and 73 overall.

Brewers' first Draft pick tough to project

Programming note
Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. CT contest between the Cardinals and Brewers will be telecast exclusively on Facebook, marking the second time the teams have matched up on the platform this season. Former All-Star Brewers closer Dan Plesac will be part of the broadcast team calling the game.

How to watch the Facebook Watch Game

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Beat reporter Adam McCalvy contributed to this report.

Milwaukee Brewers