A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Brew Crew Standing on the Verge of the Playoffs
MILWAUKEE. WIS (BASN) – When the pieces are in place for another playoff run, and it also includes a wacky guy, it leads to the arrival of the Milwaukee Brewers on the big stage.
None of this was the topic of discussion before the season started. When general manager Doug Melvin went on a mission to get better pitching, he hit the jackpot with Zack Grienke and Shaun Marcum. Before the trading deadline, Melvin scored again with the acquisition of relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez. Nyjer Morgan was a throw-in because the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals got tired of his alter ego personalities and both clubs were losing.
Some of the baseball experts picked the Brewers to finish third behind St. Louis and Cincinnati. But look at the Crew now. They blew past both clubs and hold a commanding lead in the National League Central division, boosting their lead to as many as 10 games.
At one time, the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates took turns leading the division. For one day, all three teams were tied for first. The Pirates was king for a day in the division. When their pitching fell apart, that was the end of the Bucs.
As for the Cards, once the Crew won the last two series at home and away, they were shuffled to the side. Both teams meet six more times. St. Louis could put a dent into the Brewers’ lead if they sweep the home and away series.
Very few people outside of Wisconsin cared about what the Brewers were doing. More fans got on the bandwagon after Prince Fielder got the MVP award at the All Star Game in July.
The Brewers recently held their coming out party with a cover story on Sports Illustrated. And that wasn’t a regional cover. Every SI magazine that hit the newsstands or the mailbox got the same cover with the Brewers on it. Now they’re a national story.
A very boring clubhouse was transformed into a fun bunch, thanks to Morgan. His alter ego, Tony Plush, is catching on with some teammates and the fans. He is a guy who likes to stir things up.
To keep the multiple personalities of Morgan in check, manager Ron Roenicke threw himself in the mix. He wants to make sure that Morgan isn’t acting up on the field and acts as his unofficial babysitter. Other veterans will keep an eye on Morgan as well.
To Morgan’s credit, he has curbed his act on the field. He wants to win, and looking at the big picture, he will keep things in perspective.
All the players and coaching staff are on the same page in trying to reach the playoffs since 2008. Instead of scoreboard watching, the Brewers must continue to keep the pressure on division foes. The division isn’t won in August, but at the end of September.
One thing that the Crew doesn’t need is a late season meltdown. It would deflate the morality of the team, and they might lose confidence quickly. If they lose the division, they have no one to blame but themselves.