Obviously, Christian Yelich’s unfortunate season-ending injury on Tuesday night has a ripple effect on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Indeed, Yelich served as Cody Bellinger’s running-mate for the NL MVP award for the majority of the 2019 regular season. Now, Bellinger journeys through the final few weeks of September with a different set of contenders; even if he is contending against himself.
Certainly, Bellinger had some thoughts when he learned of Yelich’s season-ending fractured knee cap. Bill Plunkett of the OC Register writes about what Bellinger and Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts had to say about baseball losing one of it’s brightest stars for the rest of 2019.
#Dodgers notes: The Belli vs. Yeli MVP race will go on without one of the combatants. "My first thought, honestly, was how (terrible) that is. … I don’t know, man, it definitely sucks."https://t.co/DwQkM00Gzq
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 12, 2019
First, Bellinger simply thought of an unfortunate incident occurring to a player he’s become friends with.
“My first thought, honestly, was how (terrible) that is,” Bellinger said. “We’ve gotten pretty close over the years. I don’t know, man, it definitely (stinks).
While Bellinger hopes to see Yelich back in action and challenging for the 2020 NL MVP alongside him (best of three, anyone?), he says that the award for 2019 remains firm in his mind.
“I think the MVP thought has been in the back of your mind because you hear about it every game,” said Bellinger, who hears the “M-V-P” chants from Dodgers fans at home and on the road. “But I really have no idea what the voters are looking for. I don’t even know who votes so I don’t know how this affects it.”
Finally, Roberts tells Plunkett that Yelich’s injury does not run parallel to Bellinger winning the Most Valuable Player award. Without question, Bellinger will need to go out and win it; according to his skipper.
“Cody’s still got to go out there and play and play well,” Roberts said. “If he does that, it’ll take care of itself. And if he doesn’t, that’ll take care of itself too.”
In conclusion, I will fondly remember the summer (and spring) of Bellinger vs. Yelich. For several months, it was everything the sport needed to revive things a little bit and kick up interest in two different regions. We all took a loss when Yelich went down with a season ending injury, and the role he played in pushing Bellinger to be his best day after day was an invaluable piece in his 2019 season.