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Volume 27 No. 13
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Brewers' Christian Yelich Working Hard To Become Face Of MLB

Yelich appeared in a number of MLB ads, and even posed in ESPN Mag's Body Issue
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

MLB "needs somebody to emerge as its face," and Brewers RF Christian Yelich "can take up that mantle," according to Jared Diamond of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Yelich said of marketing, "You have to have a willingness to put yourself out there. Do you want to go do this commercial shoot for six hours? Or do you want to go on vacation?" Yelich wants to help baseball "grow in popularity," something he sees as "part of his responsibility." That approach "brought him to MLB's offices a year ago, because he knew it would lead to opportunities to build a platform." Since then, Yelich has "appeared in MLB's 'Let the Kids Play' spot" and "starred in a 'Belli vs. Yeli' commercial" alongside Dodgers OF Cody Bellinger. Yelich also did a GQ interview and was the only baseball player to pose nude in ESPN's '19 Body Issue. He cameoed in an episode of "Magnum P.I." and wore a Dior suit at a red-carpet event at the MLB All-Star Game after "working with a professional stylist." Yelich developed an image "more similar to an NBA or NFL star than a baseball player -- exactly what MLB has long desired." Doubts have been raised about MLB's "commitment to elevating its players into crossover celebrities" in pop culture. But Yelich "doesn't blame the league." He said, "MLB has been making the effort." Yelich said that the culture of baseball "sometimes discourages players from revealing their personalities on a broad stage" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/5).

NEW FACE OF NFL? ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said “nobody’s future is brighter" in the NFL than Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes following his Super Bowl LIV win. ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser asked, “Is he the face of the NFL?" Kornheiser: "He’s young. He’s an MVP. He’s got a Super Bowl. You’re going to have to tell me if he isn’t, who is?” Wilbon noted Tom Brady “is still” the face of the league, but the "baton is in the process” of being handed off. More Kornheiser: “He's young. He’s completely accomplished. ... His dad was a major league athlete. He is multiracial. He's got a very interesting voice. He presents himself well and there’s no particular controversy. Who’s better to sell to the American public right now than Patrick Mahomes? Seriously, he's it” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/3).

NEW FACE OF F1? Driver Daniel Ricciardo, on Monday, appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," where he noted U.S. fans are starting to associate Ricciardo's "face to the sport" following the release of Netflix' docuseries, "Drive to Survive." Host Trevor Noah noted people inside F1 often refer to Ricciardo “as ‘The Clown Prince,’ because you’re also one of the most charismatic drivers.” Noah: “A lot of the drivers are very serious. They’re like, ‘I drive.’ That will be the interview.” Ricciardo said drivers like that “don’t help the sport.” The Australian-born Ricciardo said, "Growing up with sunshine -- and I lived close to the beach -- it turns your personality into a bit of happiness. I’m doing my dream job. ... I travel the world to drive cars in circles, which is pretty awesome.” Meanwhile, he added, "Judging by the audience here, I definitely feel F1 is becoming much more of a thing here in the States. ‘Drive to Survive’ put it on the map" (“The Daily Show,” Comedy Central, 2/3).