Virtually every sports team has someone called the “face of the franchise”, the team’s most recognizable player. For the Milwaukee Brewers, that player is now Christian Yelich.
Move over Ryan Braun, the new face of the Milwaukee Brewers is Christian Yelich.
For years, basically ever since his arrival in Milwaukee in 2007, Ryan Braun has been the face of the Brewers franchise. It’s been an incredible 11 year run, complete with a couple playoff appearances, an MVP campaign in 2011, and plenty of memorable moments. But that’s now over.
The New Face Of The Brewers Franchise
That title has moved now to Christian Yelich, the (presumed) 2018 NL MVP. After the season he just put up, it’s easy to see why.
With a .326/.402/.598 slash line to go with 36 homers, 110 RBIs, and a 164 OPS+, Yelich started his Brewers career with a bang. After sending a huge package of four prospects to the Marlins to acquire Yelich, expectations were high, but he smashed them nonetheless.
To make it even better, he’s under contract for the next four seasons with the Brewers, meaning he’ll be around for a long time for this franchise.
But what makes someone the “Face of the Franchise”? It’s not just being the best player. It’s not just being the most talented. The “Face of the Franchise” is the first player people think of when thinking about the team. It’s the player that everyone, even casual or non-fans would recognize immediately in a photo or in the streets.
No matter if Ryan Braun was hurt or was playing poorly, he was the first player to come to people’s minds when they thought of the Milwaukee Brewers. Even when Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, and Yovani Gallardo were all here, the first player people thought of was Ryan Braun.
Now, with Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Travis Shaw, Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, and all the other talented players on the Brewers, the first player that’ll come to people’s minds when talking about the Brewers is Christian Yelich.
What Yelich did in the second half, carrying this team to a division title, will be talked about for years to come. We were all witnesses to one of the greatest stretch runs in baseball history. That will never be forgotten by us Brewers fans. Those memories will stick with us forever.
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He took charge of rallying not only the team, but the fanbase. Yelich is the one who wrote that Players Tribune article for the fans to get riled up for the final week and for the playoffs. He’s the one Milwaukee rallied behind to make it farthest they’ve gone in the postseason since 1982. He’s the leader of this team.
For the next four years at least, Christian Yelich will be the face of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise. During the postgame celebration after winning the NL Central title, there was a hug between Braun and Yelich in the clubhouse that seemed to symbolize a “passing of the torch” kind of moment.
The torch has been passed, and Ryan Braun has moved into the wily veteran role while Yelich takes over the spotlight. Even though Yelich seems to be uncomfortable in the media’s spotlight and would rather focus on the team, he’s the perfect choice.
Could Yelich be a better “Face of the Franchise” than Ryan Braun was? Absolutely. After Braun’s steroid scandal several years ago, his image has been permanently tainted. Yelich does not have those image issues and his personality seems to match Milwaukee a lot better than Braun’s did back in his prime. Yelich, despite being from California and playing in Miami for five seasons, is a perfect fit in Milwaukee.
Over the years, we may forget some of the specific stats that Yelich put up. But us fans will never forget how Yelich made us feel when he hit for the cycle. We’ll never forget how he made us feel when he had the walk-off against the Cubs. We’ll never forget how we felt when he hit for the cycle a second time. There were so many memorable moments from this season that just made it so special, and Yelich was at the center fo a lot of them.
Yelich will be 27 years old next season, meaning he’s just entering the prime years of his career, which will all be with the Brewers. We witnessed greatness from Yelich in 2018, and we’ll get the chance to do it again for the next several seasons.
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Even without the MVP award, Yelich has turned himself into the face of the Milwaukee Brewers. He’ll be every kid’s favorite player and we’ll be seeing his jersey everywhere.