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Cub's fans honor Lance Berkman

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by codell, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. codell

    codell Contributing Member

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    I read about this is in the Chronicle this morning. Pretty funny stuff.

    http://www.rightfieldsucks.com/hecklezone.htm

    Here is Berkman's personal tribute page:

    http://www.rightfieldsucks.com/hecklezone/berkman.htm


    It's not PC to criticize Wrigley
    By JOHN P. LOPEZ
    Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

    CHICAGO — Cubs fans, in all their inglorious splendor, have nothing if not long memories.

    They remember Steve Bartman. They remember the curse of the Billy Goat, the black cat that sprinted behind home plate in the thick of a doomed pennant chase, and, of course, Lance Berkman's saying a few disparaging words about Wrigley Field.

    When Berkman ridiculed the "waist-high" infield grass and said last year that he'd just as soon have the place blown up, the Cubs' fans in left field called Berkman fat and heckled him on the Astros' next trip into Chicago.

    A Web site dedicated to ridiculing Berkman was launched before that visit to the so-called Friendly Confines, with posts calling Berkman "Fat Elvis," "Mullet Head" and "Twinkie Boy."

    Flying Twinkies

    Before one game on that trip, they tossed Twinkies at Berkman, one of which he stuffed in his back pocket an inning before smacking a home run.

    On Monday to begin this trip, which opened gloomily for the Astros in so many ways in a 3-1 loss, Berkman was the lone shining light.

    And he showed exactly the kind of loose, unruffled personality that it takes to turn things completely around — things like the 2-for-17 start he had this season and the funk presently striking virtually every Astros batter except Berkman.

    As he sprinted to left during the first inning Monday, Berkman circled in front of the bleachers with his hand to his ear, a la Sammy Sosa. The Bleacher Bums were not amused. They booed and shouted insults at Berkman, who laughed at it all, unruffled.

    When a warmup toss from center fielder Craig Biggio sailed over Berkman's head, he picked up the ball and tossed it into the stands. Someone threw it back at him. Berkman laughed it off yet again.

    Loose. Unruffled.

    "They just reject anything you do to try and engender goodwill," Berkman said later. "I flipped it up there, and they didn't like that."

    Someone asked Berkman if his ill-fated goodwill gesture set the tone for the day, which was a miserable one for the Astros in terms of run production, not counting Berkman's smash over the left-field bleachers that accounted for their only run.

    "You mean the rejection aspect of it?" Berkman said. "Yeah."

    The slump spreads
    As much as Berkman struggled to start the year, the Astros have collectively struggled the past three weeks, going 6-12.

    As much as Berkman couldn't buy a big hit early, the Astros collectively have run into the same trouble of late, slapping 11 hits on Monday but scratching out only the one run.

    Each of the Astros' big run producers must go about breaking out in his own way. Maybe extra batting practice. Maybe videotape. Maybe long sessions with the coaches or confidants who might offer a key tip or two.

    There are serious concerns that must be answered in serious ways by individuals, coaches and management before things truly begin slipping away. Nothing should be addressed more than a tough stretch at the plate by Morgan Ensberg (1-for-4 on Monday) and Richard Hidalgo (1-for-3).

    But there's something to be said for that loose, unruffled style of Berkman.

    Since the 2-for-17 start, Berkman has batted .376. In the past 14 games, he has hit .450 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs. For the season, his average has improved to .350.

    "He just sees it and hits it," Biggio said. "His biggest asset is the fact that he has a simple mindset and knows he's a good hitter. That's probably his personality also. It helps him."

    With his 2-for-4 day Monday, Berkman improved on numbers that are reaching mind-blowing proportions. He ranks no worse than seventh in the league in average (.350), home runs (14), RBIs (42), slugging percentage (.699), walks (44) and total bases
    (114).

    "I feel a lot like I did in '01 and '02," Berkman said. "It's the feeling where you go up there and feel pretty comfortable. Instead of just missing the ball or fouling it off, you're hitting it square.

    "I think I can be as much of a basket case as anybody else. But fortunately, at this point in my career I've got enough of a track record where they keep running me out there."

    And he keeps on hitting with that loose, unruffled approach. Even Monday, Berkman couldn't help but take a fun swipe at Wrigley.

    "Obviously, we'd like to generate more than just one run, but everybody had good at-bats. They just weren't in a row," Berkman said.

    "And Greg (Maddux, the Cubs' starter) did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. You know, they've got that knee-high grass on the
    infield ... "

    It's only knee-high now? The Wrigley grounds crew must have mowed since the Astros' last trip here.

    Surely, Berkman will hear about it from the Bleacher Bums tonight. He'll probably just keep on laughing. And hitting.
     
  2. ROXRAN

    ROXRAN Contributing Member

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    I love to see an Astros player with personality.
     
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    this guy is just classic. he's just a kid having fun.
     
  4. Austin70

    Austin70 Contributing Member

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    Were they chanting his name during the game too?
     
  5. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    Classsic...

    You gotta love Berkman...
     
  6. gunn

    gunn Contributing Member

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    After Bagwell does his perennial choke job in the playoffs, the Astros need to send him to the American League and move Berkman to first.
     
  7. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    I agree with the 610 morning guys this morning who were saying he should be batting 3rd in our order. He needs the extra ABs. His on-base percentage is 2nd best in the league.

    Our two best players, Roger Clemens and Lance Berkman are both Wayne Graham products.
     
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    good morning, sunshine!!!
     
  9. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
    Supporting Member

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    As is Andy Pettitte.
     
  10. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    And Wayne Graham is a UT product.
     
  11. El_Conquistador

    El_Conquistador King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking
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    You wouldn't have known it in Omaha last year when he jumped about 20 inches off the ground after Ruchti's game winning single
    off of Huston Choke City Street.


    And Darryl Royal is an Oklahoma Sooner.
     
  12. l3igballer23

    l3igballer23 Contributing Member

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    Nah Jeff Kent gets more pitches to hit batting in front of Berkman and he is an RBI machine. I like Berkman in the five spot. It also means that he does not have to switch spots in the order when a left handed pitcher is starting.
     
  13. Preston27

    Preston27 Contributing Member

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    With Kent being an RBI machine I don't see a problem with putting the best OBP guy in the majors not named Bonds in front of him.
     
  14. DVauthrin

    DVauthrin Contributing Member

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    Kent doesn't need protection to hit, what he needs is runners on base to drive in.

    I'd probably go:

    Biggio
    Everett(unless he reverts into the old AE, then Ensberg)
    Berkman
    Bagwell
    Kent
    Ensberg
    Hidalgo
    Ausmus

    The reason is for one Berkman is the astros best hitter and you typically want your best hitter in the top third of the order. 2nd, this way Kent has a great chance of having a couple guys on most times up as Bagwell still has a great amount of plate discipline.

    And as far as Everett is concerned, if he continues to play the way he has, I like him in the 2 hole because of his bat handling, speed, and the big reason is that it doesn't create the incredibly weak bottom third of the order that the Astros have had the past few years.
     
  15. fatman510

    fatman510 Member

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    Everett is the prototypical 2 hitter, he is perfect there for the Astros. This year Adam has 15 sacrifice bunts. The national league leader for all of last year? Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo, who had 15 sacrifice bunts. Adam has already tied them a third of the way through the season, thats incredible.

    My prefereable lineup:
    1) Biggio
    2) Everett
    3) Bagwell - but only because you cant take the legend out of his spot
    4) Berkman
    5) Kent
    6) Ensberg/Hidalgo
    7) Hidalgo/ Ensberg
    8) Ausmus
     
  16. codell

    codell Contributing Member

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    Fatman,

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I would never advocate moving Bags out of the 3rd hole. As long as hes a Stro, thats his spot.

    Berkman is argueably the best hitter in the NL so far this year. Can anyone name another hitter of Berkman's caliber that is hitting as low as 5th??

    He has no protection right now. Imagine what he could do with Kent batting behind him. Didn't Kent win an MVP doing the same for Bonds?? ;)
     
  17. Puedlfor

    Puedlfor Contributing Member

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    Why is that a good thing?
     
  18. gunn

    gunn Contributing Member

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    I don't know of too many "legends" that completely unravel when you need them the most. Bagwell is a nice player, but he is only a legend in your own mind.
     
  19. JPM0016

    JPM0016 Contributing Member

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    Berkman has approx a 390 average with runners on base while Bagwell has approx a 360 batting average. As long as he's still being productive i say lets keep him in the 3 hole.
     
  20. Puedlfor

    Puedlfor Contributing Member

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    He's the best National League first baseman to ever play - I'm thinking that's gotta be pretty close to being a legend.
     

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