Perhaps You Might Be Interested

16 April 2011

All Aboard the Berkman Bandwagon

Lance Berkman, Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The train left the station on the afternoon of March 31, 2011 as Lance Berkman was introduced as a St. Louis Cardinal on opening day.  A longtime rival as a member of the Houston Astros, Berkman epitomizes a professional ballplayer - killing your team while never doing a thing to tick you off.  He always seems affable while crushing baseballs all over the field - or over the fence.

But even this avowed Berkman fan has watched in awe as the outfielder-cum-first baseman-cum-outfielder has put on an exhibition this week of what is a true professional hitter.  His two solo home runs last night in Los Angeles against the Dodgers give him 6 HRs in his last five games.  After a disappointing 2010 season that saw his power sapped by a knee injury in spring training, Berkman is obviously feeling more comfortable and confident at the plate. 

He started slow at the plate, but swings kept getting better and balls were struck hard, but his best efforts kept finding gloves.  One way to break out of that cycle is to miss gloves, and Berkman has by transporting pitches to the bleachers.  If a home run finds a glove out there, statisticians don't care.

Of course, this pace cannot be sustained (if it is, this charter member of the #LBFanClub would be calling for PED testing right away).  But there may be a lasting legacy of Berkman's barrage this week.  Pitching coaches and staffs must now respect the return of his power.  With the emergence of a very dangerous Rasmus forming bookends around the very formidable force of the Pujols-Holliday coupling, St. Louis now has a heart of the order as intimidating to pitchers as the MV3 force from last decade.  Intimidation means a higher possiblity of mistakes, and these hitters have a history of punishing mistakes.

I knew I couldn't be the only member of Cardinal Nation who longed to see the Big Puma in a Cardinal uniform.  And I found out that I wasn't.  As I detailed here , Cardinal twitter Nation debated Berkman's approval early on in the season.  In fact, Christine Coleman of Aaron Miles' Fastball blog  declared herself the President of the #LBFanClub - and I have proof:
Christine also gave some some love to the concept (and this humble scribe) in a recent post .

Berkman's easy going manner in the clubhouse and in the papers is refreshing.  His production is invigorating.  And now to one of MLB's largest fanbases, Lance Berkman is finally lovable.


Chris Leeper said...

Great post!!

Anonymous said...

Christine is a joke.

Michael Turner said...

authors note: Thank you, Chris. Let us all hope I did not jinx the Big Puma.

As for anonymous, it appears Aaron Miles' Fastball is doing what all good blogs should do - get a rise out of readers. As for not putting your name to such a comment - FAIL!. Loser.

Post a Comment