The luster of playing in the All-Star Game hasn't worn off for Ryan Braun. In fact, this one might be even more special.
For the first time in the Brewers' 41-year history, Milwaukee will have three All-Star Game starters, the most in the National League and second only to the Yankees in the majors.
Braun, first baseman Prince Fielder and second baseman Rickie Weeks were voted by fans into the NL's starting lineup for the game on July 12 at Arizona's Chase Field in Phoenix.
Milwaukee has sent two starters five times in club history and three All-Stars to the past five Midsummer Classics, but having a third of the NL starting lineup coming from the Brew Crew speaks volumes, according to manager Ron Roenicke.
"I think it says we've got a great core group of players, guys who are consistent, guys who are at the top of their position," he said. "I think the way we play, people are starting to notice that this is a good team."
Any celebration surrounding a proud moment in Brewers history, however, was dampened Sunday when the Brewers blew a 6-1 lead to the Twins and lost 9-7. Milwaukee has now dropped five of its past six and has won only one series since mid-June.
Though the Brewers have struggled through interleague play, posting a 6-9 record since June 17, Milwaukee is the only NL club with more than one All-Star starter, testifying to the team's success.
"It's ultimately indicative of the fact that we had a good first half as a team," Braun said. "If a team doesn't have a good first half, there's no way you get three guys in the All-Star Game."
Braun, who holds an MLB-best 22-game hitting streak, is fourth in the NL in RBI (62) and OPS (.961), and he led all NL players in fan votes with 5,928,004.
Provided he heals from the left calf strain that kept Braun out of the series finale against the Twins, he will make his fourth consecutive All-Star start, a franchise record.
"No, not at all," said Braun, when asked if the magnitude of the experience fades over time. "It's still amazing."
Fielder, who will also captain the NL Home Run Derby team, will make his second start in three All-Star appearances, and he leads the NL with 69 RBI. Weeks, second in the NL in runs scored (59), will appear in his first Midsummer Classic.
Despite winning only three of eight series in June, Milwaukee (45-40) remains tied atop the NL Central. The Brewers are looking to return to the playoffs for the first time since '08 and for the fourth time in franchise history.
And if the first half hasn't already done so, having three All-Star starters should help put the small-market club on the map.
"It obviously means we're headed in the right direction," Braun said. "To be recognized like this on a national scale, for the city of Milwaukee, is huge. It's important for us as a franchise, and it's exciting."