CHICAGO -- Christian Yelich was one of three 2018 All-Stars among the first wave of players named Monday to represent Major League Baseball in the Japan All-Star Series in November.
Yelich said he debated the invitation for some time. On one hand, it's important to recharge after a grueling season that he and the Brewers hope extends into October. On the other hand, Yelich has learned not to let opportunity pass him by.
"Sometimes you get so caught up in your lane and you don't want to deviate from your routine," he said. "I definitely weighed all the options. I think there's some stuff that I've experienced in my career, personally, where you realize that life is short, and this game can be taken away fast. Might as well experience all it has to offer. …
"We're coming up on the two-year anniversary of the Fernandez deal [friend and former Marlins teammate Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident on Sept. 25, 2016], and I think a lot of us after that reflected on it, where it was like, 'This game can be taken from you very fast.'
"That was a huge part of the decision-making. I was like, 'Hey, you have to experience this stuff while you can. Baseball life is short, and life in general is short. It's a great opportunity to be a part of it."
There were other factors as well. Yelich's former manager, Miami's Don Mattingly, will skipper the MLB team, which will include fellow National League All-Stars Yadier Molina of the Cardinals and Eugenio Suarez of the Reds, plus National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves, Phillies teammates Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana, Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield and Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor, among others to be announced.
There are family ties, too. Yelich's mother, Alecia, has Japanese heritage.
"She always wanted to go to Japan and experience it," Yelich said. "I felt this would be a great way to go check out the country. I've wanted to go as well. It was an opportunity that presented itself, I was able to do it, so I figured, 'Might as well.'"
This year's All-Star Tour will mark the 37th time Major Leaguers have toured Japan for exhibition games, a tradition that dates back to 1908. The seven-game tour opens Nov. 8 with an exhibition against the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome, followed by three more games in Tokyo from Nov. 9-11, one game at the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima on Nov. 13 and two games at the Nagoya Dome in Nagoya on Nov. 14-15. Beginning on Nov. 9, the games will be broadcast live on MLB Network.
The weather forecast looked pretty good for the three-game set between the Brewers and Cubs that began Monday night. That came as a relief to both teams, considering their recent experience in Washington, D.C.
The Brewers' two-hour rain delay there on Sept. 1 was nothing compared to what the Cubs just endured, including a rain-soaked doubleheader on Saturday (Chicago lost both games) and another rainout Sunday.