Take it away, Bob:
To say the slugger had his worst day as a Yankee on Saturday would be putting it gently: First he smoked Alex Rodriguez on the shin with a batting-practice ground ball, then failed to get the ball out of the infield against the Red Sox while dropping his average to .091.Did he really say that Cashman "got away with" signing on of the best pitchers and first basemen in the sport, and a pitcher who throws 95 with one of the best curveballs in the game? Yea Bob, who could have seen that one working out?
It didn’t matter, really, that the Yankees cruised to a 5-2 victory behind CC Sabathia. And it was secondary to the batting practice incident that it was actually A-Rod’s fault — he was exchanging greetings with Fox announcer Joe Buck and wasn’t watching the ball. Somehow, an afternoon of blame boomeranged back to Berkman, the gentle, Rice-educated out-of-towner who doesn’t seem to belong.
“I know I have no credibility here, I haven’t done anything. I haven’t won a world championship like the other guys,” Berkman said. “You have to earn [respect] from the fans, and so far all I’ve done is earn their ire.”
Berkman is too secure to take booing personally, and he’s been around long enough not to measure himself by a 2-for-22 start. But his case serves as another example of the dangers of sprinkling small-market players onto the Yankees roster. Brian Cashman got away with it last year with Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett, but Berkman is a different species, a second-tier player who isn’t particularly strong or fit or fast.
And how is it secondary that it wasn't Berkman's fault that A-Rod got hit or that they won the game despite his rough day at the plate? The only thing that should ever matter to a Yankees fan is whether the Yankees won or lost the game. Everything else, for the most part, is meaningless. Are these two fairly insignificant things really what you writers focus on after a game that saw the Yankees build their division lead back to a game and a half and their lead over Boston to six? Maybe it's just me, but I was pretty happy they won and that A-Rod wasn't hurt badly at all. That should be the story.
God man, give the guy a break. Adjusting to a place like this takes some time, and that goes for almost everyone who has ever tried to do it. Relax.
Failing in front of 50,000 fans every night forces those kind of look-in-the-mirror reckonings. Maybe back home in Houston, Berkman’s non-production would’ve been ignored forever. After all, his mediocrity fit in perfectly with the dreadful Astros.
But Berkman was only hitting .245 with a career-low .436 slugging percentage. At age 34, Berkman is probably looking at the rapid-decline phase of any non-steroid user, which makes you wonder what Cashman saw in him in the first place.
Berkman would like to think he’s got something to offer in September and maybe October, too. But he knows the slate is clean here – or at least was. Starting today, with a $32 million batting practice victim to his name, Berkman has been awarded his first August asterisk.
And that goes to some of you fans as well. I know New Yorkers boo when they're not happy, and I get that. I've done it myself. But do you people realize how bad you make the rest of us look sometimes? The guy waived his no-trade clause to come to New York and try to win. He left the only place he's called home to come here, and after just 22 at-bats you're booing the guy. Real classy.
This also wasn't the first dose of mindless booing from some the Yankee faithful this week. A-Rod heard boos during his chase of 600, and the fact that the most of them came during a meaningless at-bats makes it all that much more embarrassing.
I'm not saying Berkman hasn't been awful, he has. But I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet, and the boos are ridiculous. All the guy needs is one big hit to get the fans back on his side and gain some much-needed confidence, and who knows, maybe that hit comes tonight on national TV.
Here's an unrelated question for you guys: How would you rate CC Sabathia's start yesterday?
Do you have your answer? OK, good, here's how Klapisch described it:
Sabathia pitched a solid, if not spectacular game Saturday, allowing just two runs in eighth innings, pushing the Sox back to a six-game deficit in the East.Eight innings of two-run baseball, against your biggest rivals, in a game you really needed to win, is now "sort of" strong and "solid, if not spectacular." Ahhh... only in New York.
Don’t kid yourself: This was a game the Yankees needed, knowing Burnett would be facing Josh Beckett tonight. The Sox might not have the same firepower without Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, but they’re still dangerous enough for the Yankees to need a strong outing from Sabathia.They got one – sort of. The left-hander had only one turbulent inning, the second, when he allowed Victor Martinez a leadoff home run, followed by back-to-back doubles to Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell. But that was all for the Sox.