Well, it seems things are changing in Brewerland. The powers that be have, once and for all, determined that starting pitching may just be the way to win games and possibly even championships. Apparently, it took the San Francisco Giants winning big to hammer that point home.
So now that Zack Greinke is a Brewer, what makes it a good fit? You see it all the time that free-agents or traded players struggle in their new surroundings.
Sometimes they may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I believe Zack Greinke and the Milwaukee Brewers are almost literally a match made in heaven.
Of course, when giving up as many top prospects as the Brewers did to acquire Greinke, there will be high expectations. How could there not be? Expectations are good.
That is a major reason why Greinke decided he needed out of Kansas City. The expectations were low and the Royals are in a rebuilding process.
His level of motivation to play in that type of situation had all but disappeared. It would have been easy for him to just shut his mouth, take the money and not care if the team won or lost. Thankfully, that's not Zack Greinke.
Welcome to Milwaukee! You're going to love it here.
I think it's safe to say that most people have never been to Milwaukee. Their image of it is from what they hear and see on TV. In the media, all kinds of comments and snide remarks are made about the city. Many of those nimrods turn out to be professional athletes. They mock what they don't understand.
Things move at a medium pace here. There is a lot to do and generally we leave professional athletes and celebrities alone. We treat them as neighbors and friends. That's why Zack Greinke will like it here.
He has already apparently made comments that he likes the city, so he has most likely already done some homework. He won't have to take any 40-minute cab rides to go someplace 10 miles away.
The old tourism slogan for Milwaukee wasn't really appreciated in its time, but it is right on target: "Milwaukee, A Great Place on a Great Lake."
Greinke had the opportunity, unfortunate as it may have been, to work with former Brewers' manager Ned Yost last season. Luckily, he just missed Ken Macha upon his arrival here. He is lucky to be able to work closely from this point on with Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke.
When you have a boss who actually wants to communicate with you and build a relationship, you have to pinch yourself. It seems that with Roenicke, the communication will come from both directions. He will listen just as much as he talks.
The manager wants to win and will do everything he possibly can to make that happen. As a pitcher, isn't that exactly what you want to hear?
Nobody will be sitting and waiting around. Everyone will be leaving it all out there on the field. Greinke is sure to smile when he hears that because he will be doing the exact same thing.
Zack Greinke meet Rick Kranitz. Rick Kranitz meet Zack Grienke. OK, now let's get to work.
Before that introduction is ever made, Rick Kranitz will know a few things about Greinke.
He will know that he won the A.L. Cy Young Award in 2009. He will know that Greinke had a bit of a disappointing season last year. One other thing Kranitz will be aware of is Greinke's history of mental health issues.
Now knowing about those issues is a really good thing. Having them out there makes it easier to be honest and trusting. It's not that Kranitz will be a therapist, but it's good that he will better understand what makes Greinke tick.
So much of the pitching game is mental. Any advantage a coach can have in understanding his pitchers is icing on the cake.
Kranitz takes each pitcher as an individual and wants to understand each of their individual thought processes. That type of approach should benefit Greinke.
Anyone that feels Milwaukee Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio doesn't get involved in the day-to-day operations of the club is a fool.
There is a fine line between being involved and meddling. Yes, he got involved in the C.C. Sabathia deal. Yes, he got involved in the late-season firing of Ned Yost. And yes, he was more than likely involved in not bringing back Ken Macha. For all those, I have to say thank you!
I have absolutely no doubt that Attanasio was in on this Greinke deal as well. Trading that many top prospects and young players is a gutsy thing.
But I think he saw much of what others did. There is a window right now. He was willing to open it. He opened it for the fans, for the players, for the coaches and for himself.
So if you're Greinke, what does this all mean? It means the Brewers want you, trust you and need you for the team to win. It also means the owner has got your back. That's a really good thing.
Miller Park is a nice place to watch a game and a nice place to play (if you ignore the crazy shadows during day games).
The stadium is consistently being upgraded to keep it on par with or to surpass any other venue in MLB. I am not just referring to the amenities for fans, but also the amenities for the players. The Milwaukee Brewers' players are well taken care of at Miller Park.
One of the visions that has been realized with Miller Park is making Milwaukee a summer destination of sorts. People from all over the country travel to Milwaukee to watch baseball because they know their plans won't be canceled. Thank you retractable roof.
In fact, other teams have switched their games to Miller Park in the event of unforeseeable circumstances. You're welcome, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros.
I know Zack Greinke will like it when it's his turn to take the ball at Miller Park because he knows exactly what to expect. He'll be out there no matter rain, wind, sleet or snow.
This is a no-brainer. Everyone knows the Brewers can score runs. They just couldn't stop the other teams from doing the same. With Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee and Corey Hart all back, those runs will keep coming in bunches.
As a pitcher, if I know my teammates will get me at least four runs a game, I can relax a little and not be intent on having to make every pitch perfect.
Unlike last year in Kansas City, Greinke knows his team will score runs. He knows that he has the chance to win even if he has an off night.
That, my friends, is called peace of mind.
In the past, I'm not sure the starting pitchers the Brewers threw out there every day could be considered a rotation. Something like "The Spin of Death" would have been closer to the truth.
I'm glad I can put my sarcasm away for a little while. The Brewers finally have a bona fide major-league starting rotation.
The rotation Greinke finds himself leading is by far the best he has been a part of in the majors. Following him in the rotation are Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf and some stiff (maybe not totally stiff) to be determined.
In a sense, the pressure is actually off Greinke. He doesn't have to be perfect every start. It isn't life or death if he has a bad game.
He has guys there that can pick him up after a loss. I guarantee that is something he probably hasn't felt before. He's in uncharted territory in a sense.
Having a little room for error just might make Greinke an even more dangerous starting pitcher.
I'll have to admit, the one thing Greinke had in Kansas City was a good closer. Jon Axford isn't Joakim Soria, but he was quite effective last year.
He showed not only the pitches to continue to be successful in that role, but also the proper mindset and mental toughness.
The other young arms the Brewers called-up last year, Zach Braddock and Kameron Loe, were also extremely effective. Having LaTroy Hawkins back healthy in a set-up role will be crucial.
When he's healthy, he usually gets the job done. I'm sure there will be some tweaking as the Brewers move forward, but that's a pretty solid start.
Zack Greinke will love the Milwaukee fans and the buzz in the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin from this day forward.
Everyone has been screaming for pitching here and constantly been ignored. Finally, at this stage, on the verge of losing Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks to free agency, our wish has been granted.
I guarantee people will be buying tickets for Christmas gifts for others and probably even for themselves. Without any pitching and the resulting mediocrity, the Brewers drew fans and lots of them.
And even though attendance has been great, it will be even better now. I can see close to 40,000 every night packing Miller Park.
Now we just have to get Greinke acclimated to the tailgating, the sausage races, the Beer Barrel Polka and the pronunciation of Oconomowoc and Kinnikinnick.
Even if he can't pronounce the words, the buzz in Milwaukee won't be going away anytime soon. You were meant to be here, Zack, and we're excruciatingly happy to have you. What took you so long?