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Lance Berkman had a sad when he was with the Yankees

Feb 9, 2012, 9:50 AM EDT

Berkman Yanks

Via BTF, Lance Berkman spoke at a church event with Andy Pettitte and other former ballplayers on Tuesday night. Here’s what he had to say about what it was like to be traded to the Yankees during the 2010 season:

“The hardest time in my professional life was when I was traded to New York. I had been in Houston a long time. I was very comfortable, played at Rice, a native Texan, so it was like a dream come true. For the first two weeks (following the trade) I literally wanted to cry. I felt so bad. I was having a bad season, and was in a completely new and alien environment. I just felt overwhelmed. Fortunately, I did have one friend in New York, and that was the main reason I waived my no-trade clause and went up there because Andy (Pettitte) was there.”

I suppose some of you will mock the big strong athlete admitting to wanting to cry, but my takeaway from this is just how much we underestimate how trades and moving and change affect ballplayers.

Sure, they know the deal. Moving teams is inevitable.  But some people don’t deal with change as well as others. And no matter how much they anticipate it and no matter how handsomely they are compensated to accept it, it doesn’t always make it easier.

  1. - Feb 9, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    If you’ve ever moved from a city where you had a lot of freinds and a strong support network to a city where you didn’t know anyone…you could probably indentify with this.

    • aceshigh11 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      Yeah, I could relate…aside from the millions of dollars.

      I know, I know…money doesn’t solve all ills, but it’s a damned sight better than being forced to move WITHOUT tons of cash in the bank.

      • humanexcrement - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        I don’t buy the argument that if you have money you have no right to complain about anything. I’m certainly not a rich man by any stretch of the imagination, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that the more you gain, the more you have to worry about. And often you feel like you should be happier than you really are. Success has broken just as many people as failure (see Cobain, Kurt). Ironically, the happiest I have ever been was when I was young, dead broke, living in a strange city with a crappy job, estranged from my family and friends and everything I knew. What DID I have back then? Something work and marriage and a mortgage and an education have taken away: freedom. Just because the guy has money doesn’t mean he isn’t prone to the same problems we all have.

      • aceshigh11 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Oh, I know, and I acknowledged that.

    • protius - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:08 AM

      Sometimes you don’t even have to move to another town to know how it feels to be alone and empty inside. There are times when all the friends in the world can’t stop you from feeling so terribly sad and overwhelmed. You can be standing in the rubble of what was once your happy home, in your lovely neighborhood and now it looks so foreign to you, as if you’ve never seen it before.

  2. deathmonkey41 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Wow- did anyone call a Waaaahbulance for him? Seriously though- he never looked comfortable there. He went from a place where there is zero pressue to perform to perhaps the biggest stage in the world.

    “Moving teams is inevitable”

    Unless your Derek Jeter. Then you get to stay with the same team, make a ton of money, and bang a new starlet every month. God, I love and despise that guy at the same time.

    • paperlions - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      Number of MLB cities where there is zero pressure to perform: 0

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        Wait, are you still talking about Baseball?

      • deathmonkey41 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        I’m sure the 2 reporters in Houston can really inflict some pressure.

      • paperlions - Feb 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        You realize that Houston is a much bigger city than Philly, right? Just because they don’t bitch as loudly doesn’t mean there are not expectations.

      • deathmonkey41 - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        When was the last time the Astros went into the season with the expectations to win it all? Houston is about 5 times the size of Philly in land mass with about 500K less people. You cram that many people into a small space like that, they’re bound to be edgy!

      • sasquash20 - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:58 PM

        True about every city/area team has pressure. But NY, Boston, Philly, the pressure is way more then Houston. Houston is a big city but its in the Heart of the South/ West. Its not the north east. I’m not saying its an inferior city or anything like that, it is just a different city. More spread out, less crowed, and less of a melting pot of different nationalities. To me it seemed more laid back and slower paced(which isn’t a bad thing at all)I was only in Houston once so I can’t really say I know much about the city.

    • stex52 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      Perhaps you mistake the viciousness of the local press for “pressure to perform.” But c’mon! These guys are all under the same pressure. The Astros were in the playoffs and the WS while he was there. Don’t go all NYC-centric.

    • caymantaxdodgers - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Wait, my Derek Jeter?

    • SmackSaw - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      My Derek Jeter what?

  3. koufaxmitzvah - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Moving is the second most severe shock to the system a person experiences, next to the death of a friend or a family member.

    • foreverchipper10 - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Really? Nutso. I never would’ve thought that.

  4. hasbeen5 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Gotta admit Craig, I expected snark.

  5. Lucas - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    I like Lance Berkman, but I feel absolutely zero pity for him regarding this issue…

    I’m in the Navy, and am currently on my 2nd deployment (of 6 months) in the past year and a half. And, guess what? I am transferring (like moving teams) to another ship this summer, and then deploying AGAIN, a month later. I’ll be deployed for over 8 months (which will be for over 250 days) of this year, and I’m not making $10M+ dollars.

    Ballplayers can bitch about it all that they want, but they get paid handsomely to have to deal with this. On the other hand, I had to miss my son’s birth, his first birthday, and now will miss his second birthday over situations (deployments) I had absolutely no control over, and make less than 1/100th of what he made while doing so. And, there are no homestands where my family (my wife and 4 kids) can come visit me. We leave and we’ll be gone for 8 months, I won’t see anyone I know except for the few hundred people that are on my ship for that entire time. My son will be 2 1/2 by time I get back home, and I’ll have only been home for about 11 months of his life.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Thank you for serving, but don’t you feel a bit hypocritical saying Berkman shouldn’t complain because the life he choose can involve moving around a lot, only to complain that due to the life you choose you have to move around a lot?

      Money obviously makes it easier to deal with, but they aren’t paid handsomely, to use your words, to deal with his. They are paid handsomely because they are a rare commodity.

    • hasbeen5 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      I don’t think he’s asking for pity. He’s simply saying he wasn’t comfortable there. Berkman doesn’t strike me as one of those athletes that bitches about everything, seems like a pretty normal guy.

    • nategearhart - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      All he was saying was that the transition wasn’t at all easy. And your post, if anything, validates that it often isn’t.

    • thefalcon123 - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Okay, sorry Lucas, but this type of argument drives me nuts.

      I can’t imagine, at all, how difficult it is to be in the military. Thank you for your service and you’re a better man than me! Now, with that out of the way…what the hell dude? Just because your problems are worse doesn’t mean people aren’t allowed to have problems. You have a stomach ache? Well, too bad, this guy has Crohn’s disease so you can’t complain about it. Sad that your wife ran off with your brother? Too bad, some guys wife died in car wreck, so you can’t complain. Move around a lot because your in the military? Well, I bet the North Koreans sent to a forced labor camp for not being sad enough at Kim Jong Il funeral mean we don’t have to take pity on you.

      See how unfair that argument is? Lance is a human being and was having a rough time. Sure, he makes way more money and has a way awesomer job than I do, but I can still think it kinda sucks that the guy was having a hard time.

    • Lucas - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM

      Listen guys, first off, I’m not trying to illicit a riot here. I don’t think ballplayers have a legitimate gripe when it comes to that (not established stars at least..minor leaguers and other guys making minimums are a different story though).

      COTPO, no, I don’t think it’s hypocritical. Berkman had a hell of a lot more say in what he does/where he goes than I do. He was a 10/5 player, right? So, he could’ve said no to going to NY (he had a no-trade clause). I can’t say no to going to my next ship and deploying right away. I have absolutely no choice in it, nor did I choose to go to the ship. Someone decided I was a good fit there and detailed me there, with no regard to deployment schedule (it’s like a puzzle-I was the right puzzle piece to put in there). And, the money is a SIGNIFICANT factor. Not to mention that for him, a move to NY was really just an extended road trip for a couple of months. He could bring his family/have them visit and everything, whereas I’m 10,000 miles away from my family and on a ship that hasn’t seen an actual liberty port since Christmas (and won’t for several more weeks).

      Falcon…I disagree with you on your argument. “This kind of argument drives me nuts”? Ok. First off, my post wasn’t an “argument”. My post was a personal statement, it wasn’t until others posted on it that it became something of contention. Well, the fact that ballplayers whine when they get paid millions of dollars to play the game of baseball and miss a couple of weeks at a time with their families drives me nuts. My son was born when I was deployed last year-if I was a ballplayer, that would’ve meant that I could take a leave of absence from the team and go be with my wife for a couple days. As a military guy, that means that I got a phone call that said “your son was born 10 minutes ago” and I got a picture via email. Then I went on with the rest of my day, because I didn’t have a choice.

      I’m not all “woe is me”. I like being in the military (for the most part-it’s getting harder as the years go by and my kids are growing up without me), and I’ve got 15 years in so there is light at the end of the tunnel (retirement in 2017). I make decent money now that I’ve moved up to a pretty high rank, so it’s not like I’m destitute or anything. It just drives me nuts that athletes don’t see that they’re not making a real significant sacrifice, at least not compared to several hundred thousand of us who are, actually, making a huge sacrifice.

      • oldyankee77 - Feb 10, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        As A 45+ year Army Ranger, I understand what you are saying, I had moved so much (before retirement), that I didn’t even know where I was stationed half the time. From Vietnam in the early 1960’s, going west around the world to Afghan’ and every place between. You and I both knew the game and what we were getting into, being in the service (our job is to complain) we expect movement but, that doesn’t make it easier.
        Each and every ball player knows this also but, again, it is sometimes like joining a unit were you must integrate yourself into the unit so as not to be the weak link. Well, it isn’t the easiest thing to do but, it has to be done.
        Anyone that thinks money doesn’t make moving easier has not moved much.
        In Lances’ case, it messed up his timing and most everything else…a very unhappy man.

  6. protectthishouse54 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Boo hoo. Lance waived the no-trade clause. He brought it on himself.

  7. jaypot23 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I understand why the guy would be uncomfortable, but he’s a grown man, who was traded on July 30th and was a free agent at the end of the year. We’re talking 2-3 months, not 2-3 years. Get over it.

    • hasbeen5 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      Have you ever complained about being stuck at a traffic light? It’s 2-3 minutes, get over it.

      I think you guys are blowing this way out of proportion. Sounds to me like he’s simply saying New York was not his favorite place to play.

  8. karaterobot - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    “had a sad”? Is there a meme or something here that I am not aware of?

    • rhandome - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      I can haz sad?

      • hgfrombc2 - Feb 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Florio taught him how to entitle articles.

    • firedude7160 - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      I was thinking the same thing, so I googled it

  9. - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Some of you are taking this out of context. He wasn’t “complaining”. You can state that you had a rough time without complaining. Especially when he said: “That’s why I waived the no-trade clause”

    It’s not like none of you have ever entered into a situation knowing it would be mentally tough, but it was worse than you thought.

  10. palinurus10 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    They way he hit when he was with the Yankees, I wanted to cry the whole time, too.

  11. palinurus10 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    And, btw, I can put up with a lot of separation anxiety for the $12 mill a year or whatever Lance was making.

  12. marshmallowsnake - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I cannot feel badly for professional athletes making millions that hate their jobs… most of us hate ours and make a fraction of that. So, too bad, so sad.

    • hasbeen5 - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      Where did he say he hates his job? He said he was having a bad year and was uncomfortable.

  13. byjiminy - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Did he complain last year? No. Did he use this as an excuse, ever? No. I don’t even consider this complaining now. He was just honest about something he went through, to a church group. He specified it was his choice, and he didn’t say he regretted his decision; he just said he missed his hometown. Whatever. Look, I hate it when spoiled, overpaid athletes complain as much as anyone. I’m just not seeing that here.

  14. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    So, is St. Louis in Texas now?

    • stex52 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      Astros turned him down when he came back. Another in the long line of brilliant moves by previous management.

  15. danielcp0303 - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Lance Berkman is the best interview in baseball. Smart, funny, and refreshingly honest. How can people criticize this guy for standing up at a church event and sharing a difficult time in his life? He’s a life Hall Of Famer in my book

  16. pisano - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    If he felt sad about coming to N.Y. how does he think the Yankee fans and the organization felt about his performance? Some people can’t take the pressure put on them to perform, and Lance is one of them.He showed what he can do without the big market pressure, so he’ll do fine with the Cards. Good luck to him

    • stex52 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Largely inaccurate. He was still playing through surgery for a knee injury that hurt his bat speed. The Cards benefited from the extra healing time.

    • rhandome - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Lance Berkman: not a True Yankee!!!


    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Some people can’t take the pressure put on them to perform, and Lance is one of them

      Exactly, I mean remember when he was on the biggest stage, in ’05 during the WS against the White Sox, he only batted .385/.526/.538. Or the previous year in the NLDS he hit .409/.480/.591 and the NLCS he hit .292/.400/.750. Yeah, this guy definitely can’t handle the pressure of NYC.

      In all seriousness, can we knock this shit off? All teams (except the Marlins) play in front of tens of thousands of fans and millions of people watching on TV. The NY Media isn’t grueling because of their jobs, they’re grueling because the majority of them are certifiable assholes.

      • paperlions - Feb 9, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        Yeah, down 3 games to 2, in the10th inning of game 6 in the WS, down a run, and down to your last strike, and singling in the tying run…that’s not pressure. It is playing regular season games for a team that is already assured of a playoffspot….that is pressure.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM

        If he were a real Yankee, he would have hit a HR.

  17. baccards - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    As a Cardinal fan, I loved to hate Lance Berkman when he was with the Astros – it was inevitable for him to come up with the winning hit in the late innings of a game against the Cardinals…besides he runs funny. But I knew he was a Hall of Fame person all along…and I’m glad he has chosen to play for St Louis.

    • stex52 - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Astros” loss is the Cards’ gain. He is a good player and a class act. Someone is just picking up a church testimony and taking it out of context. I assure you most of Houston would have him back in a heartbeat.

  18. humanexcrement - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    New York is a city that eats a lot of people alive, rich or poor. You know what being a millionaire gets you in New York? An apartment the size of a double-wide trailer. Maybe the luxury of an elevator as opposed to walking up five flights of stairs.

    • humanexcrement - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      New York is the major leagues of LIFE. Not everyone’s cut out for it.

  19. spudchukar - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    The equation of “not enjoying or feeling comfortable in New York City”, with “not able to take the pressure of NY” is risible. More than likely, the affable, unpretentious Berkman found the the glamour-striving environment of Gotham a turnoff.

    New Yorkers indefatigable crowing is nothing more than a mask, that shelters the inhabitants from their own insecurities. Nothing exemplifies this more than the incessant crooning of “New York, New York”, the quintessential ode to self absorption.

    One word of advice, to those who believe that those of us that do not reside in the confines of Manhattan, have a secret desire to inhabit the “Big Apple”… you are kidding yourself.

    • humanexcrement - Feb 9, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Greater NYC metropolitan area is home to 18.9 million people. I doubt they all have the same personality, the same insecurities, and the same way of dealing with them. If anything, the city is humbling. For all the things you may think you’ve done with your life, Manhattan has a way of reminding you that you’re much closer to the bottom than the top. Only in New York can ARod in his prime not be good enough. And how many other places in the world do people take a three-day vacation and leave completely exhausted and drained? Your petty resentment betrays you. Who’s sheltering themselves from their insecurities here?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 9, 2012 at 5:10 PM

        Paraphrasing myself:
        NY isn’t grueling because of their jobs, it’s grueling because the majority of the people there are certifiable assholes.

      • humanexcrement - Feb 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM

        Church, have you ever been to New York, excluding your high school class trip to the Statue of Liberty? Or do you live in Oregon and believe that Jersey Shore and CSI are indicative of life on the east coast (those shows are a window to New York what Chef Boyardee pasta is to Italian food).

  20. lostsok - Feb 9, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Of course he was sad. He was a better player than guys he had to sit behind. The Yankees were DUMB to trade for him and then not find a role to get him comfortable.

    Basically, they brought a really big gun to a gun fight…but left it in their holster while they drew a Swiss Army Knife.

    Of course, I was glad to see them waste talent. Hope they keep it up…

  21. lappymcbride - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    The headline for this article in Bleacher Report’s newsletter is “Being a Yankees Made Berkman ‘Want to Cry.'” Yeah, that’s not exactly (at all) what the article is saying. BR needs to quit crap like that.

    • lappymcbride - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:56 PM


  22. jakelohr - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    So overblown. Sounded to me like he was touting the value of friendship and giving a shout out to Addy Petite. Too much paranoia on these posts.

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