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America’s pastime had stadiums filled to the rafters on opening day. Brats are on the grill and $4 beer is flowing from the tap. What’s it all mean? It’s baseball season once again.

Sports fans will finally get a break from nonstop coverage of the greedy football owners’ network, or ESPN for those of you who care to wonder, and finally get to settle in and watch the boys of summer.

Baseball announcers and commentators will at last get a spot on the proverbial bus, elbowing the NFL’s idiocy out of the way just in time to grab the peanuts and take their seat for starting lineups and the first pitches.

Although I’m not on ESPN, or part of a cheesy Arizona television network, I’d still like to give my opinion on who’s going to the World Series this October. Our local Verde Valley baseball coaches are going to join me as well in making their own predictions.

Beginning with Camp Verde High School baseball Head Coach Steve Hicks, he predicts we’ll have a Philadelphia-Texas world championship in October with the Texas Rangers winning this year’s fall classic.

“Don’t ask me why, it’s just what I think,” Hicks said laughing.

In Cottonwood, first-year Head Coach Kent Winslow of Mingus Union High School is picking the Chicago Cubs to represent the National League this season, while the Texas Rangers will come out of the American League. Winslow is picking the Cubbies to break the 103-year curse to win it all in 2011.

“I’ll just pick the Cubs to win it all this year for fun,” a confident Winslow said.

At Sedona Red Rock High School, Scorpions’ mastermind Rob Henry is going with the New York Yankees out of the American League to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, representing the National League, in the World Series.

“I think the National League will run through Philadelphia. And as much as I hate it, I’ll pick the Yankees to win it all ... I hate those guys,” Henry quipped.

As for myself, I’m staying with my homegrown attitude. If most of you remember, I correctly picked the Green Bay Packers to win the Superbowl against all odds in our playoff picks in January.

I’m going to stay close to home and pick the Milwaukee Brewers to win the National League, getting to the fall classic for the first time since 1982 — the year I was born.

I was barely 3 months old when players like Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Don Money, Moose Haas, Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner, Ben Olgivie, Rollie Fingers and Gorman Thomas led the Brew-Crew to the World Series. The brew makers lost to Ozzie “The Wizard” Smith and the St. Louis Cardinals in six.

Those names are being replaced by the likes of Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Zach Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Giovanni Gallardo, Rickie Weeks and John Axford.

As for their opponent, I’ll pick the upstart Chicago White Sox to represent the American League in the 2011 World Series.

Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Juan Pierre and Carlos Quentin are going to bang their way into October this season with say-whatever-I-want-then-pretend-I-don’t-know-English skipper Ozzie Guillen running the show.

In the end, good pitching usually handles good hitting any day and the Brewers will come out on top in six games to win their first world championship.

My picks for division winners and wild card spots are below.

Bergner’s Predictions

National League Division Winners

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies [101-61]

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers [92-70]

NL West: Colorado Rockies [97-65]

NL Wildcard: Cincinnati Reds [88-74]

American League Division Winners

AL East: Boston Red Sox [105-57]

AL Central: Chicago White Sox [91-71]

AL West: Texas Rangers [96-66]

AL Wildcard: Anaheim Angels [89-73]

Playoffs Division Series

NLDS: Philadelphia vs. Cincinnati [Cincinnati, 3-2]

NLDS: Milwaukee vs. Colorado [Milwaukee, 3-2]

ALDS: Boston vs. Anaheim [Boston, 3-0]

ALDS: Texas vs. Chicago [Chicago, 3-1]

Playoffs Championship Series

NLCS: Milwaukee vs. Cincinnati [Milwaukee, 4-2]

ALCS: Boston vs. Chicago [Chicago, 4-3]

World Series

Milwaukee vs. Chicago [Milwaukee, 4-2]


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