It’s only been two days! I admit, they were a pretty rough two days for Lance Berkman: 1-for-8 with a strikeout and a few sub-par defensive plays at first base yesterday.
But I have to stick up for this guy. At least for now.
He played 11 full seasons with the Astros, the team which drafted him in the 1st round of the 1997 amateur draft, played college ball at Rice University and was born and raised in Waco, Texas. He’s a lifelong Texan who will need a little bit of time getting acclimated in New York.
And that begins tonight, as he most likely will start as a DH tonight for the Yankees against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
If you don’t believe the “can’t handle the pressure of playing with the Yankees” card I just pulled, just read what he told a field of reporters after last night’s game:
“I told Andy (Pettitte) that several times over the past day and a half I’ve been about to burst into tears, literally,” Berkman said. “The emotion is incredible. I’ve never felt anything like it. It’s just weird. I’m thrilled to be here. This is a great opportunity…
It can fluster you a little bit. I’m sure a couple of weeks from now it won’t be a big deal, but at first there’s a lot of emotions, and there’s a lot of things that go through my mind. I’m dealing with it, and I think it will be great. I’m still excited about everything and wouldn’t change it, but it’s been a tough couple of days emotionally.”
I believe his words 100 percent — not a lot of players are that honest with the media — and I have a lot of respect for a guy who chose to continue his career outside his home state to pursue a championship. Check out the linked article above for more deep quotes from the Big Puma.
Then again, he did have a poor debut. So how long before I — and you — should start freaking out about the Berkman trade? Well, I don’t think I’ll ever be freaking out about this trade, unless Mark Melancon, the main piece of the trade from the Yankees side, becomes the next Mariano Rivera — highly doubtful.
If his slow start continues, for let’s say a couple more weeks, then I’ll push that he should be dropped in the order from the No. 2 spot. Some may have an even shorter leash on the aging slugger.