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Free You Know Who.... Free You Know Who....
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Free Joey... Free Joey... Free Joey...
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All in on the Pirates, baby!
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The moment that preview walked in I knew she was trouble, like eating seven Wrigley Dogs and not being able to find a bathroom...
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The battle for second place...
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There ain't room in this town for the three of us...
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I gotta stop posting these things before they're finished...
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The National League Central is the home of the defending World Series Champions and two of the four teams that reached the playoffs in 2011.  Ergo, it's the best division in baseball! ;D  This preview will ask 12 probing queries and maybe provide some insight of what you can expect in 2012.
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The Cincinnati Reds won 91 games to capture the Central flag in 2010, besting the St. Louis Cardinals by five games.† A big reason the Reds won was Toronto native Joey Votto, who captured the National League's Most Valuable Player†award.† †The Redlegs and Cards were the only two clubs to finish above .500 as the Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs finished†with 77, 76 and 75 wins respectively.† The Pittsburgh Pirates made it 18 straight years without a winning season as†they†only avoided being the second place team on the†scoreboard 57†times.††As a point of reference, the 1979 Blue Jays were four games worse so that might give you an indication of†how bad things were in Steeltown in 2010.† Let's see what baseball's six pack has in store for 2011.

The Cincinnati Reds crack open some cold ones to celebrate their Central Division Championship of a year ago.

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It's the biggest division in baseball and it's smack dab in the middle of what learned baseball fans call the senior circuit.  Five of the six teams will be looking at former Blue Jays to boost their fortunes in 2010.  Guess which team could have the most former Jays on their roster this season?  Guess which team doesn't have a former Jay as of now?  Which player (not a former Jay!) denied me a free taco five years ago?  Who really let the dogs out?  And where the hell are my Toronto Star Season Passes already?  The answers to most of these questions and more in the Batter's Box 2010 NL Central rundown.


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The National League Central may be a fairly boring division to watch in 2009. The Cubs appear poised to run away with the division. After winning almost 100 games last season, the Cubs made a number of changes to the 25-man roster for 2009 in hopes of strengthening the outfield and bullpen. The club also brought back free agent and Canadian starting pitcher Ryan Dempster after a career year in his free agent season. The Cardinals have a solid veteran club as well, but injuries have already taken their toll on the club, which could hurt its chance of competing with the Cubs. The Astros, Pirates and Brewers do not look like very strong clubs on paper, and they could all lose at least 80 games. The Cincinnati Reds, though, could be a sleeper team - with a plethora of young, impact talent on the 25-man roster. The rise of the Reds could easily be the biggest story of 2009... unless the sophomore jinx bites too many second-year players.

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Miguel Tejada, the resurgent (.328/3/11 in '08) Astro shortstop, is -- by all accounts -- 31 years old. But it turns out that, due to a little intentional "miscalculation" on his part back when he signed with the A's in 1993, come May 25, he will turn 34.

The question is, regarding this two-year gap in Miggy's life ... do you care? Should anyone? And what did you think of the TV spot where Tejada was, as one online columnist put it, baseball's equivalent of "Punk'd"?

For the fourth straight year I have the enjoyable task of previewing the Milwaukee Brewers. Last year I did alright on the preview, as I predicted 85 wins and the Brewers reached 83 and I hit the mark on a couple of individual players, as well. I missed the win totals badly in my other two previews, predicted 75 and 85 wins in 2005 and 2006, while Milwaukee ended up with 81 and 75, respectively. Maybe I learned something in 2005 and 2006 or, more likely, I donít know what Iím talking about and just got lucky in 2007. Regardless, grab a seat and letís take a look at what 2008 holds for the Brewers. Seriously, make sure you're sitting down. This isn't going to be quick.
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"There's a good possibility we may not be as bad as people think we're going to be."-- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

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Every year in this space, I write a Cincinnati Reds preview that is wildly incorrect -- when I predict a World Seris appearance, the Red Legs tank; if I foresee gloom and doom, they at least hang around on the peripherals of a pennant race far longer than one might suppose.

So in this fourth annual edition of "The Hunt for a Reds October," let's dig back into the annals of Red Leg lore and "bottom line" it; by comparing the projected 2008 edition of the Reds with their most successful forebears -- the last Reds team to win a title (1990) and the greatest team in franchise history (1975) we can at least more accurately (one would surmise) project whether or not there is a glimmer of hope for the glint of a World Series trophy shining over the Queen City in 2008. Let's see ...
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