The Brewers also have the greatest related home-run shtick in Major League Baseball. Bernie Brewer slides into the suds every time one of them jerks one out of the park. They play in one of the new breed with the retractable roof. The place looks amazing. It was already replacing one of the greatest, County Stadium, by reputation the best food-experience in baseball.
All of this is preamble to my pick for the National League Central. My head tells me the Cincinnati Reds are again the team to beat. But I’m going with the Brewers. Although their infield is less than stellar defensively, Prince Fielder is one of those guys that could launch 60 dingers in any given season. Let’s hope Bernie Brewer doesn’t drown. (Prince’s father, Cecil “Big Daddy” Fielder, was not only about as large, but as the name implies in his case, was a superb first baseman.) Last season, a down year, Prince had his RBI total (83) surpassed by third-baseman Casey McGehee (104), Corey Hart (102), and Ryan Braun (103). This potentially gives a lethal lineup of four 100-RBI men.
The aforementioned defense and pitching are the weaker points. The club went out and got star hurler Zack Greinke from Kansas City in the American League. Greinke comes with plenty of emotional baggage: a serious anxiety disorder. When he comes back from his current (unrelated) injury, however, he ought to anchor the starting staff that features Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo. I tend to distrust any team that relies on the well-traveled LaTroy Hawkins in the pen. John Axford is making his mark as a closer, however.
Dusty Baker’s Reds and Tony La Russa’s Cardinals will make noise aplenty. But I’ll join “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker and hoist one to the Brewers in 2011.