PHOENIX – Baker Mayfield has no intention of giving up this opportunity.
Fully aware that the Milwaukee Brewers wanted to protect him, Mayfield knew he would not attend a spring training during his two-day stay with the NL Central champions. But they let the Cleveland Browns quarterback really come closer: a surprise as a first base coach for three innings on Saturday.
When the Brewers split team reached the bottom of the fourth, it was then that the third-base coach Eddie Sedar suddenly handed Mayfield a battle helmet and told him to take the lead.
Did his baseball friends give him any advice?
"Be careful," Mayfield reported. "Watch out for the guys who make one across the board."
Mayfield is a friend of Christian Yelich and has joined the MVP and beer brewers on Friday. The winner of the 2017 Heisman trophy practiced batting and showed the strength of his arm by throwing passes for some of the team's staff.
"I thought it was great," Yelich said of the Mayfield BP session. "It was a lot of fun. It has a pretty good swing."
As a first base coach, Mayfield deftly maneuvered a dirty ball from Travis Shaw of Milwaukee that bounced off the Brewers dugout in the fourth. But Mayfield struck a nasty fool with Yelich's sixth hand.
Mayfield soon learned not to get too comfortable in the coach box.
"I don't know why they painted it right there," said Mayfield. "It's not the size of the adjustment and it's too close. I'm looking at Eddie at the third base and he's in the field."
Mike Moustakas, however, may want Mayfield to wander a little further. The Brewers star hit a ball in the gap in the center right field in the fourth and Mayfield waved it, pumping his arm while Moustakas came second safely on the double.
In the sixth, Mayfield lost the opportunity to give Moustakas five after the infielder hit a two-pitch home run. Mayfield then went to the Brewers pirogue and leaned over the rail to celebrate.
"I do everything until I see it come out, so it's hard for me to hit the first base coach on a five," said Moustakas. "I wish I could have it now. I left hanging."
It was almost time when Mayfield was successful.
"He's a professional athlete," brewery manager Craig Counsell said. "He looks like a baseball player and played a lot of baseball. We played a game (on Friday) in the batting practice, a points game, and he played there until the final round. He performed very well on defense, so offensive for sure. And in the clubhouse. He did a good job. "
The Brewers have equipped it perfectly with Brewers' number 6 beer shirt. Someone updates it Saturday with white ribbon that says "16% body fat".
"I didn't put it there," said Yelich.
Mayfield and Yelich met in a gym in Westlake Village, California, when the quarterback prepared the NFL combine and the 2018 draft. Mayfield played the third base in Oklahoma, but is best known for leading the Sooners in the semi-finals Football Football Playoff twice in three years.
"He is a great athlete and has some baseball experience," said Yelich. "I saw it swing before – I wasn't too surprised to have done well."
Shaw, a native of Ohio, loves Mayfield for what he did on the soccer field.
"I'm a big Browns fan," Shaw said. "I suffered long enough."
Mayfield brought the Browns to a record of 7-8-1 last season, having passed 0-16 the previous year.