How Adames stays thankful with every social media post

November 21st, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Even in a season that ended in disappointment, Brewers shortstop Willy Adames kept up his tradition of giving thanks. You just need to know the code.

Adames’ 160,000 Instagram followers have probably noticed the hashtag #NoBookbag on most of his social media posts. But do you know what it means? Bookbag is a direct translation of the Spanish word bulto, but to Dominicans the word more often connotes pretentiousness or showiness. It’s akin to all talk and no substance. Flash without follow-through.

So, Adames’ mantra became the opposite.

No bulto.


Adames has been dropping that onto the end of his social media posts since 2013, when he was a 17-year-old Tigers prospect in the Dominican Summer League. It’s his way, even when he’s posting images alongside former teammate Carlos Gómez on a private jet or sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, to stay humble and ever thankful for the things he has.

“When you get to this level, sometimes things change,” Adames said in a video explainer put out by the MLB Players Association last year. “You get a new car, you get a big house. Sometimes it gets to your head.”

Adames decided he wouldn’t let it get to his head, and he hopes his message reaches others.

“God gave me this opportunity,” he said. “I have to give it to others.”

The 2022 season represented a missed opportunity for the Brewers despite a solid showing from Adames, who won club MVP honors for the second straight year after setting career highs with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs. He broke Robin Yount’s 40-year-old Brewers record for home runs as a shortstop, yet Adames describes his season as “weird,” noting his improved barrel rate contrasted with a significant drop in batting average (.285 in 99 games in 2021 following a trade from Tampa Bay to Milwaukee compared to .238 in 2022).

Batting average is no longer considered a key metric within baseball, but still, Adames considers is an area he can improve upon. Ditto his on-base percentage, which slipped to .298.

“Just be more consistent,” said Adames of his goal for 2023. “This year, it’s just been weird as far as average, barrel percentage and exit velocity -- I don’t even know how to feel about my numbers. It’s weird. Obviously, I want to be more consistent next year and just try to eliminate those long slumps and just be better.”

He has been busy since the end of the season, with stops at the World Series in Houston and at Pedro Martinez’s charity event in Boston. But Adames went into the winter planning to spend the bulk of the offseason with fellow infielder Luis Urías in Phoenix instead of splitting time between Miami and the Dominican Republic like years past, since it would allow Adames to work out at the Brewers’ year-round training facility.

There is business to take care of this winter as well. Adames is one of the many core Milwaukee players eligible for arbitration, with two years of club control remaining before he reaches free agency in the 2024-25 offseason. Put together his contractual status and his performance, and Adames is an obvious candidate for an extension -- and he indicated he already broached the topic with David Stearns before Stearns stepped down as president of baseball operations.

“We’ve had conversations about that, and I let them know that obviously I want to stay,” Adames said. “I like it here. I just have to do my job and let my agents handle that.”

Adames has already played for three organizations in his career -- the Tigers, then the Rays and Brewers. He wouldn’t mind if Milwaukee is his final stop.

“I’m always open to listen to what they’re thinking, and if it’s something that’s good for both sides, I’m open to it,” he said. “I let my agent handle that. I love it here, I feel good here, I feel comfortable here and I wish I could stay here the rest of my career. But at the end of the day, they have to put everything together and see if we can work something out. Hopefully we can, and we can make it happen. But I’m always willing to hear what they have to say.”