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Volume 25 No. 196
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Betts, Yelich May Lead MLB For Years To Come After MVP Campaigns

Red Sox RF Mookie Betts won his first AL MVP on Thursday, and he may be able to "pull off the impossible: make an indelible mark on the Boston Red Sox franchise, the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, and help grow the game for kids of color and, more largely, the country overall," according to Clinton Yates of THE UNDEFEATED. Betts next year could make the "jump from baseball star to so-called sports hero." There is a "complex matrix of things that would have to happen for that to go down, but it’s not impossible." ESPN MLB analyst Chris Singleton said in order for Betts to "really get that kind of love and exposure, he’d have to open himself to do more things beyond just baseball." Yates wrote fans "all know ... that baseball could use" that kind of jolt. Betts"could market anything from sports cars to pancake mix." He has been with Jordan Brand since '15, one of "only about a dozen or so" baseball players under the imprint, and he "swings an AXE bat." Yates: "Lord knows baseball could use a little bit more of that personality we saw from him in spring training in its national profile. ... No one wants to press it, but everyone wants it to happen" (THEUNDEFEATED.com, 11/15).

Yelich captured the NL MVP award in his first season in Milwaukee after being traded by the Marlins
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

A STAR IS BORN? Brewers LF Christian Yelich was named NL MVP on Thursday, and ESPN.com's Bradford Doolittle wrote the "guy from the sun-splashed regions of America could not have been more enthusiastically embraced by the fans in Milwaukee and the general region of Brewers-loving fans." The Brewers, playing in MLB's "smallest television market, averaged more than 35,000 fans per game at Miller Park" en route to the NLCS. Given Yelich's "ridiculously team-friendly contract, it is highly likely that he'll be calling Milwaukee home for at least the next four years." Doolittle: "Christian, you've become a star." He is also now the "face" of the franchise. In Milwaukee this week, there is a "special bus line running to commemorate" Yelich's MVP award. Now, the No. 22 bus is "officially known as the Yelich line" (ESPN.com, 11/15).