MILWAUKEE -- Robin Yount almost left the Brewers to chase a ring in Anaheim. It's nights like Saturday that make him glad he stayed.
Yount, the Hall of Famer and two-time American League MVP Award winner (1982, '89), threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, before this Brewers team tried to get where only Yount's '82 team had gone before: the World Series.
:: NLCS schedule and results ::
"I know one thing, it's a heck of a lot easier to be in uniform during these games than it is being a fan in the stands," said Yount. "I mean, I'm way more nervous today than I was when I played. And it's not to throw out the first pitch, because that's easy. The game coming up is. ... In my gut right now, it's pretty exciting."
Yount hadn't picked up a baseball in years, but he wasn't worried. In 2016, Yount -- an avid motorcyclist who lives in the Phoenix area -- nearly lost the use of his right hand when a compressor fell and crushed it while he was working in his garage. He drove himself to the hospital, and later underwent extensive surgery for multiple broken bones.
But Yount healed, and was able to continue attending autograph signings and other events. On Saturday, he took the field at Miller Park, the retractable-domed home of the Brewers that he helped lobby to get built.
"I will say there's something about going out on a big league field, for me, that is very comfortable," Yount said. "I'm not comfortable sitting right here talking to you folks, but I feel very comfortable out on that field. And I know when I walk out there I'm going to feel like I'm at home. And that's just the way it's been."
Twenty-five years after he retired, Yount remains the most revered player in franchise history, having played all 20 of his Major League seasons in Milwaukee while topping 3,000 hits. But it almost didn't happen that way. In December 1989, he nearly signed with the Angels, believing they were closer to contention than a Brewers team coming off an 81-81 campaign.
What made Yount stay?
"It was the right thing to do at that point in my career," he said. "[Then-Brewers owner Bud Selig] convinced me that it was the right thing to do. The fans of this community and Wisconsin convinced me it was the right thing to do.
"And as bad as I wanted to go chase that ring, after I had made the decision to stay, I knew it was the right thing to do."
Yount came along for the ride as the 2018 Brewers chased the same dream. He attended NL Division Series games at Miller Park and has been a regular throughout the NLCS, including the games at Dodger Stadium.
Yount, who grew up in Los Angeles, was asked about the players he cheered as a boy, and he made an admission that may stun those familiar with NL rivalries.
"I'm just going to be very honest. I grew up in L.A., but I was a Giant fan," he said. "I didn't really care for the Dodgers all that much. So I guess I'm not surprising anybody if I say I'm cheering for the Brewers tonight."