Berkman speaks. What else is new?
Today was so draining that by the time I walked to my car to leave for the day, I felt like I had just walked out of my last final exam in college before Christmas break.
Miguel Tejada, Carlos Lee and Mike Hampton kept us plenty busy on Tuesday. We received great news on Hampton [he’s heart-healthy and cleared to rejoin the team], listened to Tejada speak about his recent troubles [not that he offered any useful information, except that he addressed his team and apologized] and found out Lee was a no-show, which irked select teammates [Lance Berkman] but didn’t come as a huge shock to anyone.
I kind of like the quiet atmosphere when it’s just the pitchers and catchers in camp, but it’s sure nice to have Berkman around again. Not only because he’s just a fun guy, but he is, if you haven’t noticed yet, a reporter’s best friend, offering honest, forthright and often hilarious takes on life as a ballplayer.
Berkman is not furious with Lee for not showing up on time. But clearly, he’s irritated.
“On one hand, it’s Carlos, Berkman said. “That’s just the way he is. He’s a great teammate, we love having him in here and obviously he’s a tremendous RBI guy. But part of you certainly is like…he and myself and Miggy and may be a couple other guys, we’re going to be looked to to carry the load. I think it’s a good example for the young guys and everybody else to be here when everybody gets here.”
Lee’s excuse? He had the report date wrong. That’s a little hard to believe, but I’ll reseve judgment until I talk to him Thursday.
Back to Berkman. The day he reports to camp is usually the day he addresses reporters for as long as they need him, and boy, does he offer good insight. I liked what he said when asked if he felt Drayton McLane was doing everything possible to be a champion in Houston.
Basically, Berkman’s contention is that only one team does whatever it takes, year after year, to win a World Series: the Yankees. A slam on the Astros? Not really. Berkman was simply pointing out that the Yankees have unlimited funds, and the Astros do not.
“[The Yankees] are sort of operating in a dream world up there, where their revenue stream is certainly a lot different than ours is,” Berkman said. “You can’t fault Drayton for being responsible with his finances, and he owns the team and he can whatever he wants with it.”
Berkman then pointed out that McLane is always willing to add a part mid-season, “whether it be a Randy Johnson or a Carlos Beltran” or someone else to help them get to the playoffs.
“Do I feel like Drayton is doing everything he can in the free agent market to bring a championship to Houston?” Berkman asked. “Maybe not. But do I feel like he’s more than willing to pull the trigger on a trade if he thinks it’ll help us win? Absolutely. He’s a good balance.”
That said, Berkman sees the window closing on his own chances to win a World Series. He turned 33 last week, and feels like he has three or four “really good years and we’ll see how it goes after that.”