Giving Thanks: The National League Central
We’re getting dangerously low on liquor in the Calcaterra house. And my family won’t even be over here for several hours yet. This could be a problem.
More of what each team has to be thankful for:
Cincinnati Reds: Whatever spirits came to Dusty Baker in the middle of the night last Christmas Eve and convinced him to change his ways. Which must have happened, because neither Mike Leake, Travis Wood nor Aroldis Chapman were abused by Baker. Then, the next morning, he sprung to his window and called for an Intelligent Fine Lad to go straight to the Poulterer’s on the corner and buy the prize turkey hanging in the window.
St. Louis Cardinals: That the star power -- Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter, Wainwright -- and the youngins’ -- Garcia and Rasmus -- form the basis of a team that should have no problem contending in 2011. And that whatever freakish stuff caused them to lose tons of games to really bad teams in August and September -- while performing admirably against good teams -- is likely a rare occurrence. Like Halley’s comment or something.
Milwaukee Brewers: That Doug Melvin admitted during his introductory press conference for new manager Ron Roenicke that the pitching is the problem. You can’t cure yourself until you know what ails you.
Houston Astros: Brad Mills. I don’t know how much credit to give him -- maybe he truly has unlocked mysterious secrets and has become the Brett Myers Whisperer -- but there certainly is a sense that he’s running a tighter ship. I still think there are bleak days ahead, but Mills seems better equipped to deal with them than, say, Cecil Cooper was.
Chicago Cubs: The utter shamelessness of their owners. It has already gotten them a new spring training facility. It will likely end up getting them taxpayer-funded renovations to Wrigley Field too. Hey, you never get anything you want unless you ask.
Pittsburgh Pirates: That there is a practical limit to how many games a team can lose. Sure, it’s possible that a club could go 39-123, but the competitive ebb and flow of Major League Baseball caps it, roughly speaking, at 120 losses.