CAIN! CAIN! CAIN!
Throughout the 2014 Major League Baseball playoffs, Kansas City Royals’ center fielder Lorenzo Cain’s name has become a household one.
Cain’s acrobatics in the field and knack for getting on base made him the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Cain hit .533 in the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles with a 1.255 OPS (an OPS over .800 is considered good; over 1.000 is next-level awesome).
And for those of you who were Homer & Thunder listeners in the fall of 2010 – you knew this day was coming.
In 2010, Cain, a late-season call up, hit .306 in 43 games for the Milwaukee Brewers. Cain sparkled in the field, stole seven bases and scored 17 runs.
Cain had the opportunity to play after a concussion suffered by starter Carlos Gomez – who was snoozing his way to a .247 season with five home runs and 17 stolen bases.
And seemingly on a daily basis, Cain would come through with a big hit, big run or big defensive play – so much so that he also got a daily shouting salute of "CAIN! CAIN! CAIN!" delivered by yours truly during Homer & Thunder.
We quickly became devotees of Lorenzo Cain. While in limited display, Cain showed he belonged.
So you can imagine my disappointment when Cain was dealt in the six-player deal for Royals’ star pitcher Zack Greinke during the 2010 offseason.
Now don’t get me wrong. A lot of positives came out of that deal – most obviously a 2011 playoffs run that ended in game six of the NLCS at Miller Park against the Cardinals (don’t get me started on Shaun Marcum and Ron Roenicke’s decision to start Marcum).
Dealing Greinke the following season also brought starting shortstop Jean Segura – although the jury is most certainly still out on the young player.
We all remember the excitement of the 2011 pennant run. The 96 wins. Greinke’s 16-6 record (with a just barely better than league-average ERA of 3.83). And we also remember Greinke’s 6.48 ERA in the playoffs – not a fond memory.
But all in all, the trade was a win-win for both teams. The Brewers went all-in in 2011, and while they didn’t win it all, it was an exciting time for Brewers Nation.
And the Royals? They began building the base for the American League’s entrant into the 2014 World Series.
Say it with me: "CAIN! CAIN! CAIN!"
Mitch Nelles, aka Thunder, is a long-time resident of the Milwaukee area with some serious Wisconsin roots.
Born and raised in Boston himself, Mitch brings a bit of a coastie attitude to his fandom. He moved to Wisconsin in 1990, where he attended Nicolet High School and the University of Wisconsin. His grandparents and entire mother’s side of his family were born and raised in Milwaukee (yes, serious roots).
Mitch has worked for the Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Bucks and 540 ESPN in Milwaukee/100.5 ESPN in Madison, serving as the co-host of “Homer & Thunder” for the past eight years.
Also very active in the community, Mitch has emceed and auctioneered events for Make-a-Wish, Variety of Wisconsin, Russell Wilson’s personal foundation and The Guest House, just to name a few.
Mitch was in the crowd when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, when Wisconsin played in the Final Four this past April and when Ron Roenicke inexplicably pitched Shaun Marcum in Game 6 of the NLCS in 2011.