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Astros announcer criticizes Lance Berkman in Houston return

Apr 27, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

lance-berkman-cardinals-spring AP

Lance Berkman returned to Houston yesterday for the first time since being traded by the Astros last season and was met with some pretty harsh criticism from local announcer Milo Hamilton.

Appearing on a radio show, Hamilton rhetorically asked of Berkman:

Why did you think it wasn’t necessary to get in shape your last couple of years as an Astro? And now to a team you didn’t even know, a manager you didn’t play for, you felt it was your responsibility to get in great shape? And it’s paying off. Lance, I love you. But wouldn’t it have been great to have given that same dedication to the Astros and your owner here that you did in two short months to the Cardinals?

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Berkman responded by calling Hamilton’s words “ludicrous” and “falsehoods.”

I have no idea how hard Berkman did or didn’t rehab his knee injury and he certainly didn’t earn the “Fat Elvis” nickname by being in wonderful shape, but as Craig has documented so thoroughly in this space the whole “best shape of his life” thing is hardly uncommon for veteran players coming off injuries or sub par seasons. Or in Berkman’s case, both.

Beyond that, Berkman hardly pushed his way out of Houston and after playing a dozen seasons for the Astros as one of the greatest and most well-liked players in franchise history it seems like ripping him immediately upon his return is a bit much, especially coming from someone who surely spent the past decade praising him at every turn because he played for the home team.

Berkman went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI yesterday, but the Astros won 6-5.

  1. spudchukar - Apr 27, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    When you are injured, and subsequently recovering, the time off and time back naturally lead to being in less than your best shape. Berkman, admittedly tried to return too soon from the knee problems, thereby insuring he couldn’t be in his best shape. It was only in 2009 when the injury occurred which most likely aided an un-Berkman-like year particularly in the second half.

    Maybe he was getting a little pudgy, but his 2008 stats indicated it mattered little, and until his knee injury his stats confirm that.

    All I know is he is running well, and knocking the p**s outta the ball, creating a pretty dynamic 2-5, Rasmus, Pujols, Holliday, Berkman and Freese. I know I like Lance a Lot.

    • Old Gator - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      Unless you’re willing to take into consideration that his weight ultimately contributed to the injury, or at least to its severity and persistence. As a gentleman of avoirdupois, who had to lose a lot of weight on the orders of my orthopedist, I feel I have some wee bit of authority in this matter.

      Otherwise, Hamilton is just another jackass with a microphone.

      • robmoore - Apr 27, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        It was only in 2008 that Lance stole 18 bases – I think that the injuries played a big part in his not being able to get in the best possible shape.

  2. uori - Apr 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    As an Astros fan I saw the best and worst of Berkman. At his best when he was healthy I saw a man who busted his ass to be the best he could be. When he was injured or rehabbing I saw nothing to make me beleieve he wasn’t trying just as hard. All that said I do tend to believe his weight was a hinderence in his rehab effectiveness and he never came back to the Astros at full health. As outsiders we for sure can’t tell how hard he worked to get into shape, only Berkman and his training staff know for sure. all that aside I still have a ton of respect for Berkman and wish him all the best.

    On another subject; Milo Hamilton is an National Radio Hall of Fame inducted and Ford c. Frick award winning broadcaster. In his 65 year radio career has worked for seven major league teams and many minor league teams. He is a legend with a microphone, not just a random jackass.

  3. bukes111 - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    It may not have been a dedication issue. Maybe Mcguire hooked him up w/ the good stuff.

  4. kpyanc - Apr 27, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Milo must be getting senile. Lance Berkman always gave his best, never wanted a trade out of town and must be amused that the Astro’s decided they preferred a singles hitter to a player who will finish his career in the record books as one of the top switch hitters with home run power in baseball history. Grocery merchant McClain is in a budget cutting mode and that’s the only reason one of the greatest Astro’s ever must finish his career elsewhere. He was an excellent outfielder and first baseman for the Astro’s and above all else, was the consummate team player that tried to play through injury. He had an allstar career and, in my opinion, was more valuable as a first baseman than Jeff Bagwell. Hey, Lance at least had a decent post season batting average, something Bagwell can’t claim. here’s hoping Lance sticks it to the Astro’s every time he plays them. As far as Milo Hamilton is concerned, he’d a radio hall of famer, but the game has passed him by. Go get ‘em Lance!

  5. cintiphil - May 2, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Sorry to say, Milo did you ever hear of sour grapes? I think you have a strong case of it.

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