Lance Berkman, the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 has some business questions in front of him. Behind him is a party like no other in 2011.
The mullet haircut has its own mantra: business in the front, party in the back. Mullets have been sported for decades, starting in the South, and spreading into mainstream culture in the 80s. From Dennis Eckersley to John Kruk, players wore their mullets loud and proud, letting the hair flow out of the back of their hat. What keeps the mullet cut relevant in current Cardinals talk? Lance Berkman. The mullet almost speaks to his personality too well.
For years, Lance has been a grinder in the league, averaging 130 games played for the past twelve seasons. His hard work ethic combined with his comical and outgoing personality make him one of the most likeable teammates in the Cardinals clubhouse. His .301 batting average this past season was his best since 2008, his 31 homers was his best since 2006, and he won the GIBBY award for Comeback Player of the Year.
After Berkman’s downslide in 2010, Berkman seemed to be heading toward retirement. He was 34, his numbers were sliding every year, and he was thought of as a toss up in the free agent market. When the Cardinals picked up Berkman, he looked at the opportunity as a turning point in his career, and he began to work his way back into the form we saw in his prime in Houston. He had some help hitting behind great hitters like Albert Pujols and Matt Holiday, which diverted attention from Berkman and gave him more chances for better pitches and more hits. He looked a lot more comfortable hitting this past season, and it helped to have a deeper, more balanced lineup than when he was in Houston.
The question that we all have asked this winter is can Lance Berkman succeed without Albert Pujols in front of him? Well, the answer is yes. After watching the World Series, I saw some signs that Lance was not just a flash in the pan last season. He still has three guys surrounding him named Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Allen Craig in the meat of that order, in addition to guys like Rafael Furcal and Carlos Beltran. The offensive attack will not be as loaded with power as it was in the past, however. The lineup as of right now is more balanced, and looks like it will produce the runs it will need for the pitching staff to compete in games.
Whether we look for a fade cut, a Mohawk, or a mullet, we all see the personality that compliments the hair of each player. For Lance, it is a mix of fun and work, and it fits him just fine. One day I hope to see someone fit the mullet’s mantra just as well as Lance Berkman does.