Teammates, opponents, managers, fans, media members and scouts regard Berkman as an uncommonly nice person and the classic case of an athlete who has his act together. He’s quotable, approachable and brimming with perspective, and he’s that rare star player who’s able to dissect his game through a self-deprecating lens. But the game isn’t always fun when the bat and ball can feel like a ball and chain.
“Most of my career, I’ve almost had to let that cloud hang over me, because it’s part of what keeps you sharp mentally,” Berkman said by phone earlier this week. “I know the fickle nature of hitting. You can be as hot as a pistol one day, and the next thing you know you can’t figure out where to put your feet. It’s such a difficult thing to do, you’re always just trying to survive.
“I have a tendency to take things to extremes and take a doomsday approach when things aren’t going well. I’ll think, ‘This is not good,’ or, ‘The next slump is just around the corner.’ I’m always leery of hot streaks, because I know the game can turn on you in a heartbeat.”
Good dude, that Lance (even if his name is Lance). I’m glad he’s doing well.