PITTSBURGH -- For the first time in more than 24 years, the Brewers are Sports Illustrated cover boys. Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Nyjer Morgan are featured on the cover of the Aug. 29 issue of the magazine with a photo of the trio celebrating Mark Kotsay's game-winning hit on Aug. 16 and the headline, "Living the High Life: How T-Plush and two Wallbanging MVP candidates are mixing a strange brew in Milwaukee." Braun also made the cover of SI's 2008 baseball preview, but he was featured along with five other '05 Draft picks. This week's issue marks the first time the Brewers have owned the cover alone since April 27, 1987, when a shot of Rob Deer advertised a story about Milwaukee's "Team Streak."
Robin Yount (twice), Rollie Fingers and manager George Bamberger have also been on the cover of SI. For Morgan, it marked another big moment in a surprising season. "I'm so fired up," he said. "I never thought a guy from the east side of San Jose would be with two of baseball's favorite players on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It's pretty cool being with those two guys on there." Morgan's unlikely story forms the backbone of the story -- his decision to drop out of high school at 16 and move to Canada to fulfill a sudden urge to play hockey, and how he decided to convert to baseball while sitting in the bleachers at Candlestick Park. His alter ego, Tony Plush, makes a cameo, of course. "He uses Plush as a way to release pressure," Morgan's mother, Trina Perry, told the magazine. "When things get too tense, he can go there and keep it fun and light. It helps him relax." General manager Doug Melvin told SI, "He has brought silliness back to baseball." Talk of the SI jinx did not gain much traction in the visitor's clubhouse at PNC Park. Manager Ron Roenicke admitted he's aware of the supposed jinx, but when asked about it, he just shrugged and did not say a word. Fielder said he didn't even know about it. He figures the Brewers are ready for the increased national attention sure to find them in September. "I think we're equipped for it," said Fielder, who added, "I'd rather just play."