Ed. note: This is the second installment of BWP's baseball season preview, where we'll be breaking down all six or so divisions in baseball, one of which we know anything about.
If you missed the first installment, here's John's take on the AL East.
So I thought it would be funny if I tried to break down the division in baseball I know the least about, and decided on the National League Central. This is a very proud division because it includes three teams that have won championships in the past 100 years. Unfortunately, it also includes the Cubs, Astros and... Lions? Oh, Milwaukee.
Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, one of the "proud" franchises is Pittsburgh. At least they won the Super Bowl. You have to blame the ownership of the team here: They've tried to build a team with players who suck at baseball. Not a sound business decision. Can you believe this team used to be relevant? They can't even lay claim to the ugliest player in the major leagues, because Tom Gorzelanny can't even throw well enough to secure a spot on this piss-poor team and is stuck in the minors. Just a shameful experience all-around.
Milwaukee Brewers. Still the fattest city in America even after losing CC Sabathia to free agency, which has to count for something. Actually it doesn't, because they're a horrible team. I believe their pitching rotation this year is Dave Bush, Oil Can Boyd, me, a JUGS machine and then whoever wins the KISS 99 "Takin' Care of Business" prize for calling in how many times Bachman Turner Overdrive came on during the power hour. At least they still have Jewish Baseball Superstar* Ryan Braun.
* - May not actually be Jewish.
Houston Astros. When we were kids, the Astros had a bunch of players whose last names started with the letter "B," so they were called "The Killer B's." Fox would always put up a graphic about this complete with a buzzing sound. Long story short, this team sucks and is irrelevant. However, they do have Roy Oswalt, a pretty good pitcher who also might be the biggest redneck in major league baseball, as well as Lance "Big Puma" Berkman, who looks like he should be playing rec basketball somewhere, as well as Hunter Pence, who only needs a "IV" at the end of his name before we crown him the whitest man on earth. I like to see my crackers out there representing, but unfortunately Japanese people, Dominican people, Cuban people, etc etc etc... pretty much everyone besides white Americans... is better at baseball than white people. So this team sucks.
Cincinnati Reds. This team actually has a lot of talent, including Johnny Cueto, whose bandwagon I was on before everyone else. Unfortunately, Cueto is not a good baseball player so that doesn't count for much. But they do have "the next big thing" Jay Bruce, "the next big thing" Joey Votto, "the next big thing" Thomas Edinson Volquez and "the next big thing circa 2004" Edwin Encarnacion. So they're young and talented, which is good for a sports team. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about them besides that, and the fact that the three teams below them suck. So... whatever.
St. Louis Cardinals. 2008 NL and Rob Gindes Fantasy Team MVP Albert Pujols is the best baseball player ever. He played last season with a torn ligament in his elbow, a fractured tibia, a spinal concussion, painful kidney stones, a urinary tract infection and a broken heart. Yet he still almost willed a team full of flunkies into the playoffs. Also, Rob Gindes Fantasy X Factor Ryan Ludwick suddenly became a great baseball player. On top of that, Chris Carpenter is finally healthy enough to break his arm in April, so watch out for that. I think they have one of the Flying Molinas catching for them as well, so that's very nice. They also have Skip Schumacker, who apparently is an actual person. It should be a fruitful season for the Cardinals.
Chicago Cubs. Despite not winning a championship in 100 years, the Cubs are now perennial favorites to win the NL Central because they spend lots of money. Unfortunately, money can't buy them love, and they always end up losing in the playoffs because they are cursed by a goat or something. Alfonso Soriano lied about his age, didn't he? Didn't that happen a few years ago? So we all thought he was like 24 and really he was like 89? Apparently he's still good though. Rich Harden is the best pitcher in baseball or something, but he gets hurt every year. Who's good on this team? Zambrano? Or something? Derrek Lee? Does it bother anyone that everyone on this team is old, injury-prone, or both? I was going to pick them to win the division but jeez.
Fearless predictions/numbers that might add up to 162.
1. St. Louis Cardinals 88-74.
2. Chicago Cubs 87-75.
3. Cincinnati Reds 81-81.
4. Houston Astros 77-85.
5. Milwaukee Brewers 70-92.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates 14-148.