Lance Berkman’s reputation as a straight-talking clubhouse presence was one of the reasons the Rangers lured him away from retirement during the offseason. Berkman’s positive experiences do not extend to Wrigley Field.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports some Rangers players to be excited about the team’s first trip to Wrigley since 2002, but Berkman made it perfectly clear he’s no fan of one of baseball’s cathedrals, and the oldest park in the National League.
“If they’re looking for a guy to push the button when they blow the place up, I’ll do it,” Berkman told the Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News.
“It’s one of the worst places in baseball for, well, just about anything. I really don’t like it. I read where they got approval for some more upgrades. Count me in the group of people extremely happy to see that. I guess I’m just spoiled. “There is a tremendous history associated with it and there is something special about playing on the same field that guys like Babe Ruth did. But really, what kind of history is there? It’s not like there has been one championship after another. It’s mainly been a place for people to go and drink beer.”
Berkman has endured 355 plate appearances in 177 games at Wrigley during his 14 major league seasons. The combination of cold weather and lack of a designated hitter in the National League park will likely limit the 37-year-old Berkman to pinch-hitting opportunities in the three-game interleague series with the Cubs.