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TWIB follows resurgent Brewers

'This Week in Baseball' follows rising Brewers

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MILWAUKEE -- A sweep of the Rockies capped a 5-2 homestand and rekindled the Brewers' postseason hopes. They may still be relative long shots, but after Saturday, you can't call them "sleepers" anymore.

The resurgent Brewers will be the focus of "This Week in Baseball," presented by Pepsi, a half-hour show that airs Saturdays on FOX at 11:30 a.m. CT (12:30 p.m. ET).

The TWIB crew picked a good day to equip Brewers rookie first baseman Prince Fielder with a wireless microphone, and fans will ride on Fielder's burly shoulders as he yanks a game-winning single to beat the Astros at Miller Park on Aug. 18. The Brewers' National League Rookie of the Year candidate was hitting .282 entering the weekend, with 23 home runs and 66 RBIs, second best on the team to fellow budding star Bill Hall.

"It was just luck that we had a mic on him that day," said Meredith Eckert, the show's producer. "He was so pumped up. It was a great way to end our shoot."

Fielder said later that he channeled low-key Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez in that at-bat. He did some neck rolls. He looked in the stands. He "pretended I was going to fall asleep."

Whatever he did, it worked.

"You always want to be in that situation," said Fielder, a rookie being asked to play a much larger role for the Carlos Lee-less Brewers. "The key for me is to know you're in that situation but not get too excited. You have to try to relax. You can't be over-tense in that situation."

The Brewers have not been the focus of "This Week in Baseball" since July 2004, when another Rookie of the Year candidate, outfielder Scott Podsednik, took fans along for a "day in the life" piece and All-Star closer Dan Kolb showed off his collection of muscle cars. They were the first Brewers featured on the show since Geoff Jenkins and Richie Sexson showed off the new Miller Park in 2001.

This time, the Brewers will be the main focus of two segments of the show, including one that "highlights the top five things you might not have known about the Brewers," Eckert said. Hall wore a microphone for the show, and he and Fielder talk about their friendship. The TWIB crew also features right-hander Tomo Ohka's annual charity tour, in which he brings 12 disadvantaged kids to the United States from his native Japan. The show will also spotlight some in-game chatter from Brewers first base coach Dave Nelson.

The Major League Baseball Productions crew happened to catch the Brew Crew on an upswing. Coming off a series win at Pittsburgh, the team split a four-game series with Houston, then swept Colorado. Entering Friday's games, the Brewers were 4 1/2 games behind the National League Central-leading Cardinals and 4 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and Reds in the NL Wild Card standings.

"It's a little bit of luck and a little bit of planning," Eckert said of catching hot teams -- the show recently profiled the Twins and Phillies. "We've been pretty lucky this year."

In the "Pepsi Pitch, Hit, and Run" segment this week, the focus is on how players new to the big leagues make adjustments, and actor Tom Hanks' ongoing tour of MLB ballparks earns him this week's spot in "Chevrolet Front Row Fans." In "How 'bout That," presented by Gatorade, the single "Oh Yeah" from The Subways will be intercut to great plays of the week.

"This Week in Baseball," one of the longest-running sports shows on television, also airs during the week on New England Sports Network, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, Comcast Sportsnet West and Channel 4 San Diego. The show is broadcast internationally in Australia, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Japan, Latin America, Middle East, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and Taiwán.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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