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Lance Berkman is not amused about Marlins Park

Apr 6, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

St Louis Cardinals Photo Day Getty Images

After 20 years of nearly every single development in the circumstances in which baseball is played benefiting the hitters, they build, what, the second or third park that skews pitcher-friendly and someone complains:

Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman predicted to reporters Wednesday that hitting a home run at Marlins Park is so difficult that one day soon they will have to shorten the distance to the fences.

“If they don’t move the fences in after this year, I’d be surprised,” Berkman said after the Cardinals spoiled the Marlins’ ballpark unveiling by handing them a 4-1 loss. “And I’m going two years as the over-under on that.”

The poor dear.

Look, I think Marlins Park is going to play like Yellowstone Park too, but man, why don’t we give it more than one game before we jump to any conclusions? And why don’t you go ask your teammate Kyle Lohse how he felt about it? Because I have this feeling he was perfectly fine with the dimensions when Giancarlo Stanton was up to bat.

  1. antlerclaws - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    There should be a daily column, like “And That Happened…” It can be titled, “What Lance Berkman Said Today…”

    • contraryguy - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      he certainly is full of opinions lately, eh? But with Terry Francona off the field and Ozzie Guillen ‘happy’ for the moment, the media has to have a go-to guy out there somewhere. Not much color in these bits though… nobody’s going to call him Lance Barkley just yet.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        He has a right to be frustrated. Some people have a bad day at the office, you know? He’s a good dude, and though yes, he didn’t seem to consider how this will benefit his pitching teammates, he might have just been PO’d for a moment or simply just giving his opinion when asked.

        Besides, it’s not like shortening fences is an unheard of idea >ahemahemBoston<

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        Did you just compared Terry Francona to OZZIE FREAKIN’ GUILLEN?

        No comparison, my friend.

        Terry was a Zen master in terms of dealing with an aggressive Boston media. He NEVER lost his cool and, come to think of it, hardly ever said anything particularly interesting or colorful (a good thing, in my opinion).

        You might have a skewed perception of his tenure with the Sox because of last September, but believe me: the guy is about as emotionally vanilla it gets.

    • madhatternalice - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:42 AM


      • cur68 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:28 PM


  2. kingjoe1 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    The Marlins didn’t load up on speed for nothing. Petco Park is no different. The Marlins can really build a homefield advantage by having more speed than the other teams and make their home park manner. Shutup Berkman.

  3. chadh88 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    But Berkman is right. Home runs sell and get you paid. The hitters will want them moved in to help their contracts and after the newness of the park wears off (I’m guessing mid-May) there will need to be some draw to the park. HRs get the park and the team on SportsCenter. I love good defense and pitchers duel as much as the next guy, but I can’t seriously expect Lohse to pitch like that at Busch. He would have given up his usual 2-3 homers if it was a home game. Every good pitcher line in that park will be taken as an exception due to the dimensions.

  4. SOBEIT - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    As a Giants fan, I have to say that a huge OF is a blessing and a curse all in one. Yes, it is a great advantage for home pitchers to turn HRs into warning track pop-outs. The Giants have done very well developing a mostly home-grown starting lineup who know how to use the long dimensions. But the curse is on the other side of the ball. Some hitters start to press and turn pull happy trying to get the ball out. Some big bat FA will not sign with your team because it could hurt their numbers for a larger contract the next round. That is what the Giants have been dealing with. I don’t know about the Padres or any other ballpark that plays big…but it has been difficult to get a proven bat to play and stay in SF.

    I look forward to seeing how the Marlins park plays when the roof is open and closed. If it plays big when the roof is open, that could be problems down then road when they close the roof. It will be interesting to hear the comments by Marlins pitchers vs. Marlins hitters in a few months. I guess you can look to the Mets because I think they just brought in the OF fences after years of sticking with the original dimensions.

    • yankeesfanlen - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Ummmm….didn’t a certain Barry Bonds play somewhere on the West Coast?
      And CitiField opened in 2009, fences brought in three years later, not a lot in baseball time.

      • nogoodtomedead - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:19 PM

        Ummmmm…. Barry Bonds was a Giant for years before AT&T opened- and the distance in right field down the line is friendly for a left-handed pull hitter. But he’s right- power hitters don’t seem to be eager to come to SF. (Although I think this could also be attributed to ownership avoiding huge contracts and just a general lack of impact bats in free agency year after year)

      • SOBEIT - Apr 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Ummmmmm…you don’t think Barry came to SF because he grew up here, his dad played here, and the Giants offered him a ton of money at the time? Barry is not an example that reflects the majority of FA hitters because of his personal history with SF and the Bay Area in general.

        But even during the steroid era, we had trouble attracting FA to even meet with the GM. They would say SF is not in consideration right off the bat. That’s why we had so many 30+ aging hitters on the end of their careers taking a chance to play in SF to continue their careers. But a young promising FA hitter between ages 27-30 in their prime was unheard of.

        And it got so bad that after only 3 years, the Mets moved in the fences. That’s bad. We’ll see how long before the Marlins do it…but they will say it was to increase the number of seats available.

  5. hustleandflomax - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Calm down people, he just said that it’s a big park. And it is, so what’s the problem? Why do we have to pick apart every single thing a ballplayer says? He was just stating an opinion after he was probably asked what he thought about it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      Flomax: It all drama…all the time. The Jerry Springer mentality if you will.
      I made the same comment during the game. In fact…I fully expect Florida err…Miami to have all the Windows up/closed real soon.
      Mike…err…Giancarlo hit two shots that would have out at pretty much every park NOT named Petco.
      Lance is real. Lance is genuine. You ask Lance a question…he is gonna give you HIS answer.
      What I find really hard to understand is people not appreciating that quality in today’s ‘PC” world.
      Cause’ in my opinion…the “PC” answer is lip service 9 out of 10 times from most people.

      • stex52 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

        Agreed. Houston’s loss was the Cards’ gain. Lance is a good teammate and a straight up guy.

  6. canehouse - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Berkman is a hick!

    • stex52 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      If by that you mean he grew up in a small town, you are correct. If by that you mean you think he is stupid, you are mistaken.

  7. yankeesfanlen - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    I’ll start this season like I ended last season:
    Yankees fans were not amused by Lance Berkman.

    • paperlions - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Cardinal fans are amuse by him and rather adore him.

      If Yankee fans were discerning, they would not be amused by their team trading for a guy with one healthy knee.

    • stex52 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      He was playing hurt.

    • spudchukar - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Berkman actually did OK in Post Season in 2010 for the Yanks. If they didn’t make knee-jerk decisions to please the fan base they could have Berkman in RF instead of Swisher, or sometimes DH rather than Jones or Ibanez, greatly increasing their chances of competing with Tampa Bay.

  8. mdpickles - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    I believe that that the homerun has been cheapened a bit by sandboxes like CBP, new Yankee Stadium, Coors field, whatever that ballpark in Houston is called, etc.. I wonder if Willie Mays or Hank Aaron ever complained about the dimensions of the Polo Grounds? Maybe, just maybe, if some of these warning track power guys adjust their hitting philosophy to become .300 + hitters, the days of someone of hitting .380 in a season could come back. To me, watching a player achieve such a high average is more interesting than some guy who hits .237 175 SO’s and 35 HR’s.

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      “I wonder if Willie Mays or Hank Aaron ever complained about the dimensions of the Polo Grounds”

      Umm…it was 278 feet down the left field line and 258 feet down the right field line at the Polo Grounds. If you pulled one, it was gone. Met Ott hit 323 home runs at home in his career and just 188 on the road. During his years in New York, Mays hit 94 at the polo grounds and 93 on the road. The insane center field was offset by the incredibly short lines. If you were a certain type of hitter, the Polo Grounds were an fantastic park to play in.

      Secondly, everyone should have complained about the Polo Grounds! What a silly, ridiculous stadium that was. A 450 bomb could be a flyout and a 260 pop up could go over the fence for a game winner homer….like what happened in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.

  9. makeham98 - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Of course poor Lance doesn’t like the stadium. His career is based on overinflated stats accumulated in Houston’s bandbox.

    • danielcp0303 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      That’s actually incorrect. The way he squares up the ball, he tends to hit the ball more towards center. He’d probably have way more home runs if he had just turned to the right side and tried to pull everything. It’s more fair to say that Minute Maid Park actually hurt his stats.

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:38 AM

      Berkman’s home run totals at home and away, 2000-2009

      2000: 10 homers at home, 11 away
      2001: 13 at home, 21 away
      2002: 20 at home, 22 away
      2003: 11 at home, 14 away
      2004: 8 at home, 22 away
      2005: 13 at home, 11 away
      2006: 24 at home, 21 away
      2007: 13 at home, 21 away
      2008: 16 at home, 13 away
      2009: 14 at home, 11 away

      Total: 142 at home, 167 away

      Remember kids, 5 seconds of research before making a post vastly decreases the liklihood of you looking foolish.

      • saints97 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:54 AM


      • makeham98 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:10 PM

        Home runs are not the only stat, junior.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      Ham: What Falcon said!

    • johnnyb1976 - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      This is a true statement like it or not

  10. paperlions - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    First, Berkman was stating facts. Stating facts is not the same as complaining.

    Second, almost every new and newish stadium is pitcher friendly (or at least appears to be so far). Marlins new park might make PetCo seem cozy, Target Field appears to be pitcher friendly, Citi Field is very pitcher friendly, Nationals Park is very pitcher friendly, Busch Stadium is very pitcher friendly, Citizen’s Bank is actually pretty neutral despite its early reputation, PetCo, PNC is pitcher friendly (and not just because teams face the Pirates), AT&T is very pitcher friendly, SafeCo is very pitcher friendly….the exceptions are Yankee Stadium, Great American Ballpark, Comerica, and Miller

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      You hit it Paper. I would had Wrigley to the list of pitcher friendly parks but you pretty much covered it.

      • paperlions - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        That is a list of parks newly constructed since 2000 (not including renovations). Just showing that recently constructed parks are nearly all pitcher friendly or neutral.

      • indaburg - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:55 PM

        Paperlions, you are ignoring the importance of inflection and body language. Using your examples, the statement “It is hot” could be a complaint if said in an irritated tone of voice or an eye roll, for example. “People are stupid” is a statement that would rarely be said in a neutral tone of voice and could also be a complaint, without adding any qualifiers. Without the benefit of seeing and hearing Berkman make his comments, we don’t know if he was complaining or not. (And if he was complaining, who cares? He is entitled to his opinions.)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      First, Berkman was stating facts. Stating facts is not the same as complaining.

      Here we go again. These two aren’t mutually exclusive. Thought we went over this in the Bobby V thread?

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        Agreed Church. Certainly NOT mutually exclusive. I will add however if someone is asked a question and they give a honest answer based upon facts (as they see them)…then it is hard to argue their answer is actually a complaint.

      • paperlions - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:58 AM

        A complaint is a statement of discontent.

        “It is hot.” Is a fact.
        “I am tired of the heat.” Is a complaint.

        “People are stupid.” Is a fact.
        “I am tired of dealing with stupid people.” Is a complaint

        Berkman didn’t complain about the park. All he did was predict that the Marlins would change it.

        Who did complaine in the cited article? Logan Morrison. “To center and right center, it’s a little ridiculous.” Ridiculous conveys a negative opinion above and beyond what can be construed as fact.

    • saints97 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      Paperlions, let’s not let facts get in the way of Craig hyperventilating about something.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        No doubt Saints. After the Tori Hunter article (along with about 25 other previous instances) I am now going to make it my business to throw stones at virtually everything he writes/posts.
        Sorta’ like the little brother/sister than grates on your nerves.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      My fault. I missed the year 2000 qualification.

      • paperlions - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        Not your fault….I didn’t have that qualifier in there….I just started with the newest parks and went back in time until 2000…figuring that was enough parks to demonstrate that the general trend is to build parks that fall somewhere between extreme pitcher parks and those that modestly favor pitching.

  11. danielcp0303 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Berkman just gets it. Give him a 30 minute show

  12. deathmonkey41 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I don’t think that sounds like he’s complaining. And I said the same thing when Stanton blasted those two balls and they were just fly outs.

  13. dohpey28 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Yankee fans are still waiting for those long balls he was suppose to hit in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium’s right field.

  14. shawnuel - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    I agree. I live near Seattle and I have gotten used to people pooh-poohing the Mariner’s pitching stats because they are skewed by the dimensions and maritime winds of Safeco field. Yes, Their pitching has an advantage but Hell, look at the M’s offense the last few seasons. Mariner fans would LOVE to see Safeco dimensions diminished ever so slightly, if for no other reason than the ability to woo free agent hitters to Seattle. The fear in Miami should be whether or not Stanton gets tired of 35-45 HR per season when he could hit 40-50 in a neutral park and, maybe, 45-55 in a Citizen’s Bank, or in Minute Maid, Arlington or Arizona and bolts for more confined pastures.

  15. angrycorgi - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    He’s right though. Especially with the roof closed. No wind of any kind and the balls just die in that place. There were some really good pops on opening day and nothing really threatened to go out. I saw one catch right BEFORE the warning track and that was as close as anyone got. The team with fast contact hitters are going to win there.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Definately Corgi. I was surprised to see Furcal bang the wall though.

  16. phillyphever - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    The fences are the problem there? Now, I’ve only seen one game there and I’ll wait until the Phils play there to look at the dimensions, but from the looks of it so far, that ballpark looks more like a funhouse than a place to play baseball. Kind of fits the team though.

    • scatterbrian - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      No need to wait.

      Going left to right: 344′, 386′, 422′, 392′, 335′.

  17. rcali - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Lack of HGH and Steriods are the problem.

  18. spudchukar - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Sorry Craig, but I gotta believe you are a little off base here. But you have been “picked-off” by others. One thing Berkman might reflect on though is the Marlins’ line-up. If I have the trio at the top, and a home run hitter who generally hits major bombs, plus a pitching staff which is primarily a fly-ball group, Ozzie et al might just learn to love the place.

  19. js20011041 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    I actually don’t have a problem with the Marlin’s having an extremely large park. A little variety is a good thing. Some parks should be hitters parks, some should be pitchers parks and some should be neutral. Besides, if more parks have expansive outfields, that just means we have more young speedy players playing the game instead of old fat guys. That can’t be a bad thing.

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