One of the more entertaining narratives during the 2019 Major League Baseball season was the friendly rivalry that developed between Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger and the 2018 National League MVP, Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Yelich was looking to defend his MVP crown and began the season on a torrid pace. Bellinger also got off to a hot start as he looked to dethrone Yelich, setting up a “Yeli vs. Belli” media campaign that lasted the entire season.
Bellinger ultimately won the MVP Award after Yelich got hurt and missed most of the last month of the year, but both players turned in terrific seasons and were arguably two of the best three players in baseball along with Mike Trout.
Their on-field rivalry has actually created a solid friendship off the field between the two young stars. Bellinger participated in the second annual California Strong Celebrity Softball Game hosted by Yelich and others at Pepperdine.
While it’s become common knowledge the two have grown close, Yelich expressed some surprise by the overall reaction to his friendship with Bellinger, via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN:
“He was actually crashing at my house this weekend,” Yelich said. “We’ve been real good friends. That surprises people for some reason. I don’t know why people are so shocked to see us out to dinner or just hanging around town. They feel like we’re supposed to not like each other or something. I don’t really know why. It’s a fun rivalry, for sure. We’re both competitors, but we’re definitely friends as well.”
The rivalry between the two players actually dates back to 2018 when the Dodgers and Brewers met in the NL Championship Series. Bellinger was named the MVP of the NLCS, homering in the decisive Game 7 to help send L.A. to the World Series.
With Yelich now healthy, the 2020 season will be the rubber match as far as MVPs are concerned. Team success comes first though, so the main hope is that the Dodgers and Brewers will end up facing each other in the NLCS once again after both teams had disappointing finishes to the 2019 campaign.
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