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Fielder, Braun lift Brewers to NL Central crown
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Prince Fielder sprinted back and forth from dugout to dugout, trying to get to every single fan.
More than an hour after the Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first division title in 29 years, one of the biggest free-agents-to-be remained a very in-demand commodity for a city that’s unconditionally loved its homegrown star.
This season was built for him as chants of “We want Prince” continued. Now, he gets a chance to take Milwaukee to a point much farther than his first postseason appearance in 2008.
“We’ve got a great team, the fans are with us all here,” said Fielder, who believed he’d be traded last season and received a standing ovation on the final day last season. “I’m just glad we’re able to do it, we’ve got a little ways to go, but I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this. Hopefully, we go all the way.”
Braun said he expected to have a black eye after Nyjer Morgan hit him with an errant elbow during the celebration at home plate.
“I think for me, honestly, I live for that moment. You play the game to have the opportunity to play meaningful games down the stretch in September,” Braun said. “I truly expected to come through in that situation.”
They believe they’re built for a similar run.
General manager Doug Melvin said his goal coming into the season was to drop confetti from the Miller Park roof again. In the offseason, he decided to keep Fielder and built the starting rotation by trading away his farm system’s top talent.
In the span of two weeks in December, Melvin dealt his starting shortstop, backup center fielder, top pitching prospect, top hitting prospect and two pitchers who projected to be no worse than major league relievers.
The returns included 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Melvin said the Brewers were all-in _ the way they were in 2008 when they traded for CC Sabathia midseason.
The gamble paid off again, but it took longer than expected for rookie manager Ron Roenicke.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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