MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich was a late arrival to the Milwaukee Brewers’ annual winter lover festival. Thinking of the motive, his tardiness was additional than understandable.
Yelich expended Saturday night time in New York, in which he was presented with his 2018 Nationwide League Most Beneficial Participant Award trophy. He then flew back to Milwaukee on Sunday on the non-public jet of group operator Mark Attanasio.
It is very a distinction from a year back, when Yelich had flown on the extremely same aircraft to Milwaukee just days right after he was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins. Becoming a member of him on that flight ended up Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Bob Uecker, as properly as Ryan Braun, who had been the past Brewers player to gain MVP honors.
“You are on this flight with Brewers royalty and you sort of really feel out of location at the time,” Yelich recalled Sunday.
Now, right after one particular of the most prolific seasons in franchise heritage, Yelich is component of that echelon. His No. 22 jersey was between the most well-known between in the marketed-out crowd at the Wisconsin Middle in downtown Milwaukee and his line for autographs was quickly the day’s longest — even additional so than those for franchise icons Yount and Uecker.
“He’s a celebrity,” explained manager Craig Counsell, who presented Yelich at Saturday night’s awards banquet. “We had persons chasing our auto down past night time down the streets in New York.”
“But I consider from his perspective, he’s definitely seeking forward to actively playing baseball again. And then it is a little little bit additional organization as typical,” he explained.
Business enterprise as typical has taken on a new that means in Milwaukee right after Yelich and the Brewers burst back onto the nationwide scene past time, storming into the postseason prior to ending a recreation brief of the franchise’s initial Environment Collection berth due to the fact 1982.
Yelich performed a critical position in that run. Acquired to include a additional dependable still left-handed bat for the top of a lineup that struggled to create in 2017, Yelich bought off to a great start and gained his initial job All-Star nod by hitting .292 with 11 house runs and 43 RBIs in the initial 50 %.
That turned out to be almost nothing additional than a prelude of what was to come.
Right after hitting in three straight video games heading into the All-Star Crack, Yelich stretched his streak to 15 video games to open the 2nd 50 % and had raised his normal to .317 right after closing out August with a 2-for-4 displaying in a 4-1 victory at Washington.
His most effective work arrived over the last thirty day period as he batted .352 (31 for 88) with 10 house runs, 33 RBIs and a 1.307 OPS. He went 3 for 4 in a tiebreaker earn over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field that gave the Brewers the NL Central crown. The Brewers, who had been out of the playoffs due to the fact 2011, swept Colorado in the NL Division Collection prior to shedding to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Activity 7 of the NL Championship Collection at Miller Park.
Topping that last-thirty day period overall performance is a tall get, specifically over the program of an whole time. But Counsell was assured that Yelich, just entering his prime at age 27, was additional than capable of dealing with the force and expectations that come with an historic time that fell just brief of the ultimate goal.
“Christian and I basically had a dialogue about it past night time,” Counsell explained. “Christian has a massive challenge in entrance of him. I consider he’s seeking forward to that. He needs to get improved and he feels like he can get improved. Which is what’s on his plate and that’s what you want on his plate.”
Yelich insists he’s nonetheless the same player — the same individual, far too. And when he acknowledges environment the bar large past time, he’s hoping to use the one particular-recreation distinction as a motivator for a further magical year.
“Life has altered a little little bit, but I’m having it all in stride and studying alongside the way,” Yelich explained. “I’m just definitely excited to having back to actively playing baseball and finding up in which we still left off as a group and looking at if we can make that following step.”