On December 19, 2010 the Milwaukee Brewers gave every fan an early Christmas present as they acquired Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals. While the price was steep, I remember waking up ecstatic knowing full well that the Brewers were “going for it.” As a season ticket holder who has had and still has season tickets with his dad, I knew that the 2011 season wasn’t going to be like of the season’s we saw from 1992 on. This team was going places and it was going to be special.
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And special it was. During that season the Brewers not only won their first National League Central Division Title, but they also were just two wins away from going to their first World Series since 1982 and none of it would have happened without Greinke.
While Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and even Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson had awesome years in the rotation, Greinke pitched like a man on a mission all year long. Going a perfect 11-0 at home, he finished the year 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA. He clearly was the ace of the staff.
The rest however, is history. After losing out in the National League Championship Series that season, the Brewers not only lost Prince Fielder but also traded away Greinke after falling out of contention in 2012.
On the other-hand Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain have become centerpieces in Kansas City and seen their stars shine brightest on the big stage in the past two Octobers. This season, they both were able to make their first all-star teams as well and Escobar was named ALCS MVP.
But they are not the only reason that the Royals are one of the best teams in baseball. After years of struggle, players like Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas have a little bit to do with the team’s success. Having a pitching staff that features young fire-baller Yordano Ventura and Edinson Volquez along with the best bullpen in baseball helps as well, along with the team’s ‘me against the world attitude.’
Yes, Greinke only spent a year and a half with the Brewers, but it is fully worth it and I wouldn’t trade 2011 memories for anything. Instead of being upset about seeing players like Escobar and Cain succeed and playing good baseball, simply enjoy the great baseball being played in the postseason.
While the team is struggling now, the future is brighter than many in the state think. With a stocked farm system that is going to continue to get stronger this winter, the Brewers will be back in contention soon and we can finally put to rest the complaints of trading away two young stars and focus on October moments again in Milwaukee.