Mark your calendars: the date was April 4th. Lance Berkman made it into my inner circle of Cardinal love.
Lance Berkman had a clean slate with me. I knew he was a former Houston Astro, but that was about it. (The “new baseball fan” status still gives me an excuse for my unfamiliarity with everything not Cardinal-related.) The Cardinals picked him up in the off-season and the first things I hear about him are 1) Big Puma 2) Fat Elvis and 3) bad knees….. not exactly a glowing report to hang your cap on, Lance. ;)
Being a fan of our up-and-coming babybirds and pulling for those young guys to get their due chance with the big club, I am not a huge fan of Tony LaRussa’s propensity to favor new-to-me veteran additions to the roster. Sure, those veterans have experience…. but I don’t remember any of it (new baseball fan excuse.) So those guys have to give me a reason to love them. They have to show me some heart, hustle like their job depends on it or at least have a personality that makes me forget that they’re blocking the babybird pipeline to the Majors.
ht, Lance Berkman had all three. I was shocked to see him tear around the bases in a hit and run, ending up at 3rd
! Bad knees? They sure looked to be working well to me. Then the Fox Sports camera (and microphone) caught Berkman as he headed to the dugout, smiling ear to ear, stop at the steps to shout a heads-up to Skip Schumaker, warning that the pitcher was throwing inside. Big points to FSMW for showing that exchange. Personality and teamwork on display makes me happy.
Add to that the (boring) stats from last night that Berkman drew two walks in his first two at bats and hit a rbi single to help spark hope in the almost-rally of the 8th inning and Lance has earned himself a spot in my heart. Fellow United Cardinals Blogger Christine Coleman was quicker to the Berkman bandwagon than I was. She pointed out to me at the game on Sunday how quirkily entertaining it is to watch Lance nervously walk in little circles in the outfield after every pitch. (Quirky works for me…. See: Brendan Ryan.)
So, while I was warned that I would love Berkman this season because he had a “great personality,” I stubbornly held out for proof… and spunk. Welcome to the club, Lance Berkman. You’ve earned a new fan. (Mr. Theriot, I am still waiting.)
The Cardinals did end up with another loss last night. They are now 1-3 in 2011. (Note: the Cardinal win came on Sunday while the United Cardinal Bloggers were in attendance at the game – not that that matters, but I think it might?) David Freese wasn’t feeling the love yesterday. He went 0-4 and has a batting average of .154 which is still better than Pujols’ batting average (now at .125.) Aren’t early season statistics fun? They don’t mean much, but yet we all want to make something out of them. Brendan Ryan is batting .083 for the Mariners right now if you were curious ;)
And of course I have to mention Hunky Holliday: On March 31st
, Matt had a power explosion with 3 hits, a homerun and 2 RBIs. The very next day Holliday was in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Then, 3 days later reports come out (yesterday) that Matt asked not to be put on the 15 day disabled list because he believes he will be able to return before then. Superman? Possibly. Stud? Definitely! ;)
Late edit: link to FSMW video with Hunky talking about his surgery and recovery: click HERE.
The Cardinals take on the Pirates again tonight at 7:15 CT with Kyle McClellan on the mound. I feel a win. Go Cards!! ;)