It’s late March in New York, and today the Milwaukee Brewers are supposed to open their season against the Mets. But the city’s battered by rain, so the Brewers are instead cooped up in their midtown Manhattan hotel, rained out and shut in. Christian Yelich, the former MVP and longtime face of the Brewers’ franchise, has no problem with waiting. This is his 12th season in the big leagues, and Mother Nature isn’t the only obstacle he’s faced along the way. Chilling for an extra 24 hours is a little easier for Yelich than it is for some of his less-seasoned, extra eager teammates. “Especially Chourio, who was a teenager two weeks ago,” Yelich laughs, referring to Jackson Chourio, the 20-year-old phenom he now shares the outfield with.

At 32 years young, Yelich is now the oldest position player on the Brewers’ roster. “Which is really crazy because I don’t feel like one of the older guys,” he says. “I guess I still feel like I mix it up pretty well with the young guys. They’re all really talented players, but very, very, very young,” he adds, each very communicating respect for his teammates born in the 2000s while also emphasizing surprise at his newfound veteran status.

If Yelich comes off as younger than his years, it’s in part because he is, in so many ways, built from the classic Southern California ballplayer mold. Growing up in Thousand Oaks turned his laidback levels up to a million, and as we chat in one of the hotel’s spacious conference rooms, his voice rarely goes up or down, mirroring the calm he exudes in the batter’s box. He wears a plain-colored hoodie and a pair of understated Nikes (stealth wealth, but make it baseball), and nurses a cup of coffee from the team’s breakfast spread. He’s got the tall and wiry build typical of long-ago ballplayers, but his clean-shaven, angular face has drawn comparisons to Pete Davidson for nearly a decade now. “Every night somebody will scream it from the stands,” he says. “Or somebody will come up on the street and they think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard it. Thanks, man.” (For what it’s worth, I’ve always thought he looks more like a less debaucherous, more athletic member of The Strokes, one who swung a baseball bat rather than a guitar.)

At this stage of his career—and his life—Yelich occupies a space fairly unique to athletes. He’s the oldest hitter on the team, but he’s not old at all in real life. He’s still really good, but he’s not quite at the level that won him an MVP. He’s closer to the end of his playing days than he is the beginning, but whenever that ending comes—and it may not come for a while—he’ll still have a whole life to lead. That’s part of the reason why, he tells me, he’s embraced social media more than most of his quiet (some would say boring) MLB contemporaries. His willingness to put himself out there comes from knowing that time spent as a professional baseball player is very finite, and thinking “it is cool to document some of this stuff.” This is partially why he enlisted the help of Tom Brady’s crack social media team to give his Instagram some of the same flavor. Cribbing young and modern ideas from an older, lionized figure is kind of perfectly symbolic: thanks to fortuitous timing, Yelich can be seen as a bridge between different eras of baseball, and the way our feelings and opinions about the game have changed over time.

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