Yelich's Derby prep so good the cops were called

July 6th, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Cannonballs away!

turned the home of the Pirates into his personal launching pad on Friday during a practice session at PNC Park with Pat Shine, the former Miami Marlins coach who will pitch to Yelich in Monday's T-Mobile All-Star Home Run Derby in Cleveland.

How did it go? It must have gone well, because someone called the cops to report a broken window on a boat in the Allegheny River. But no charges were filed, and Yelich was not made to walk the plank.

“That’s how legends are made,” said teammate Ryan Braun as the story circulated around the Brewers’ clubhouse.

Yelich treated the session as a dry run for Tuesday’s event, down to the timing (four minutes per round) with a timeout allowed. Yelich said he hit 21 homers.

The MLB home run leader -- with 31 home runs entering Friday’s game against the Pirates -- Yelich is the top seed in the event and will match up against Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the first round.

Yelich has dismissed the usual concerns that the event will negatively impact his swing, saying, “I do basically the same thing during batting practice every day, so I think it will be fine.”

“He’s addressed this, really, in the perfect way,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I think we have to give one of the best players in the game a little credit here, that he knows what he’s doing. From my perspective, it’s like, let’s keep putting challenges in front of Christian Yelich and everything will turn out pretty good. That’s what gets him going. The more challenges, the better. Great athletes, they figure out a way around that. They figure out, ‘What are the pitfalls?’ and they work through them, or they work past them, or they find a way to work around them.

“Christian knows what he’s doing. I think he’s going to have fun with this. That’s what this is. It’s a fun event. There’s some stakes this year that make it probably a little more competitive. And that’s cool, too. As much as anything, I think he sees this as a challenge, and then something that’s fun to do. You know, he’s going to take a lot of swings, he’s going to be a little tired, but he’s a great athlete who’s 27 years old. He’ll be fine.”