Last evening was beggar’s night in my neighborhood. It never fails that I can never predict the turnout as far as the number of kids that trod up to the front door to utter those three words…”Trick or treat”. You can either almost or completely run out of candy (and wear that stigma for a whole year) or you have so much candy left over that if you eat it all, your stomach hurts for days.
Well, the NL Central teams played some trick or treat with us for the 2011 season. Continuing on that, here’s the Brewers…
You needn’t dig too deep to see how the NL Central champ Milwaukee Brewers played a trick on us. They won the division by six games and headed into the postseason as the second favorite (behind the Philadelphia Phillies) to win the NL.
But something happened.
It’s called the eventual World Series winners the St. Louis Cardinals. For the regular season, the Brew Crew owned baseball’s best home record at 57-24. They did go all five games in the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks and won the series based on winning all four games at Miller Park. The Cards, winning the NLCS in six games, took two games on enemy turf: games 2 and the clincher in game 6. Way to defend that home field.
I’m also not lost on the fact that Milwaukee had two of the games biggest hot dogs on its roster: outfielders Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez.
Morgan came to the Brewers in a spring deal. Touting himself as two alter egos (Tony Plush and Tony Gumbo), Morgan did little to suppress a reputation he has in regards to the opponents. His “style” can be infectious (unfortunately) and his mouth can also be as disturbing. All you have to do is watch any interview with him or any of his on the field antics (part of which are clearly visible in this video).
Morgan is a player with some talent, but an ego bigger than the state of Wisconsin.
Gomez is not as boisterous, but his showmanship can also be over the top. Bat flips (even more severe than any of those of Barry Bonds or Albert Pujols) are the norm for this guy and his manner of trotting around the bases after any homer would kindle the ire of any opposing team.
But this team didn’t go without its treats. What about that Ryan Braun, huh? What a magnificent season (33 HR, 111 RBI, 33 SB, .332/.397/.597)! A few mentions will be in store for him as the NL MVP.
And I will readily eat crow on my call of Zack Greinke. I honestly did not figure he would be an asset to this team especially considering how his career in Kansas City ended. He admitted to quitting on his former Royals teammates. He displayed a very good season in 2011. He does give them confidence for 2012 even if the Brewers are unable to re-sign Prince.
And I cannot forget John Axford. I had asked Reviewing the Brew’s Editor Lou Olsen about the level of confidence the Brewers fan base had in Axford as a closer. Here was Lou’s response…
"Well, John got roughed up a few times this spring. He knows it too. The difference between John Axford and your typical bullpen guy, John does not get down on himself. The biggest thing he took from Trevor Hoffman, was his confidence. Ax trusts his stuff and appears to be pretty unflapable when things do fall apart. Plus, his mustache deflects negative thoughts. I also heard that it has it’s own color swatch at Sherwin-Williams, Winchester Oak."
AxFaceKilla had himself quite a season, too.
What will 2012 hold for the 2011 division champs? The big question obviously surrounds Fielder.