Tell me something, everyone: what are you afraid of?

No, not like in real life. I don't care that you're afraid of failure, or dying alone. Or that every time you see a teddy bear you lock yourself in a closet and cry for three hours. Not interested.

Well, that's not entirely true. If you do that closet thing over a stuffed animal, I guess I am a little bit interested. Just because I'm nosy like that. But that's not exactly what I'm asking about today, in this particular baseball column. (Still, feel free to share.)

No, what I'm asking you today is who you're afraid of in the National League Central. It honestly looks like the division could be very, very tough this year, and it's only going to get worse in the future, I think. The Cubs have money and, finally, what looks like a coherent vision of where they want to go. The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of getting over that hump we've been talking about them cresting for what seems like decades now, and I expect the tipping point to hit this year. They have the feeling of a real, honest to goodness breakout team to me.