One more reminder that you have until noon tomorrow to register for the blog and be entered for a chance to win one of 10 autographed baseballs. Click here to register.
For the first time in his major league career, Lance Berkman is preparing to play a home game outside of Houston. There can be no doubt that he’s happy to be with the Yankees, and last night he said he was excited about tonight’s Yankee Stadium experience, but it’s hard to overstate just how overwhelming his weekend has been.
“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.”
On the day he arrived in Tampa, Berkman said going from the out-of-the-race Astros to the first-place Yankees could be “revolutionary,” forcing him to feel the same nervous energy that he remembers from his first year in the big leagues.
“I don’t think I’ve played a meaningful game in like three years,” he said last night. “I hate to put it like that, but you have to learn how to manage your emotions again. When we were going through our little playoff run there in Houston, I learned how to do it. You kind of have to be in the environment and realize it’s the same game, and kind of slow everything down. The tendency is for everything to speed up and be real nervous and be real excited. It takes a little bit of being in that environment to get used to it.”
Here’s what Pettitte said to expect when Berkman makes that adjustment: “One of the best hitters I’ve ever played with, for sure. And in the postseason I saw him take it to another level. You hope that he can get back to that. I think that he surroundings that we have here, the players we have around here, he’s got an opportunity to do great things. He’s a great hitter, so I don’t think there’s any way he can fail.”
Here’s the audio of Berkman’s dugout interview on Saturday, not long after he put on the Yankees uniform for the first time.
Associated Press photo