By Shawn Muller–
(CBS) Tuesday July 12th, 2011, should go down as one of the best days ever for baseball lovers in the Brew City, and I must admit, as a lifetime member of the long suffering Cubs Nation…it stings.
First, Prince Fielder put Milwaukee on center stage by becoming the first Brewers player ever to hit a home run in an All-Star Game–which turned out to be the game winner for the National League–catapulting him to game MVP honors. Then, just as Fielder was being announced for the MVP award, word came down that the Milwaukee Brewers acquired four-time All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets in exchange for cash and two players to be named later. Rodriguez, 29, who is 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 23 saves this season, set the single-season saves record of 62 back in 2008 with the Angels.
Not a bad day at all if you ask me.
But as much as I don’t want to, and for as much as it pains me to do so, I have to tip my cap to Brewers general manager Doug Melvin for doing what he has in Milwaukee over the past few seasons, and the Rodriguez deal was just another feather in his cap.
Milwaukee’s bullpen has been less than stellar, to say the least, in 2011. The relievers have blown 14 saves and have 20 losses through 92 games, and though current closer John Axford has been pretty good in the closer role (23-25 in save opportunities), the addition of K-Rod may just be enough to push the Brewers past the Cardinals (Sorry Pittsburgh. I know you have done well this season, but I’m not buying you as a threat to win the division just yet) and the Reds.
Milwaukee already had–in my mind anyway–the best starting rotation in the NL Central with Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson. They already had one of the best offensive lineups in baseball with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks. Now you add a guy like Francisco Rodriguez to the bullpen, and the Brewers instantly become a real player in the NL pennant race.
What is it with the professional teams in Wisconsin making life miserable for Chicago fans all of a sudden? First, the Green Bay Packers marched into Soldier Field and smacked the Bears around in the NFC Championship game. Now, the Milwaukee Brewers are showing the Cubs front office and its fans how a real organization makes heady decisions.
Basically, the only bright spot for Chicago was the Bulls over the Bucks.
This has been a nightmare season–or 103–for Chicago Cubs fans to say the least. While the Cubs season was basically over and done with in May, we get to continue to see the Cardinals fight for division titles like they do every year. We have to see the White Sox still–however slim–alive in the playoff race. And now we have to see that team just up the road on I-94 continue to make solid moves.
So goes life as a Cubs fan, I guess.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But hey…at least the Cubs came in as the fourth most popular team in baseball according to the latest Harris Poll!
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.