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Postgame interview with Lance Berkman
10/07/2010 10:42 PM ET
Q. Lance, you talked last weekend about how after a mediocre two months, a couple of big hits in the postseason can really sort of turn your entire Yankee experience around. Is this sort of what you were thinking?

LANCE BERKMAN: It's a good start. But yeah, I mean you know that's why, that's why I wanted to come over here, was just the chance to play in these games. And they were going to make the postseason with or without me in the regular season. I just want to be able to contribute and maybe help us win a few games here in October.

Q. What do you feel when the ball cleared the fence? You had a lot of big home runs, but where would this one rank?

LANCE BERKMAN: It was good. I really kind of -- I mean, the results are nice to have, but I like to, I kind of base my night on how I feel at the plate, and I really haven't felt very good all year. It has been the worst year of my career. And so I was really more excited about the fact that I actually drove a ball to left center, which is something I haven't done, which has really been a strength of mine throughout my career, and it's definitely eluded me this year.

So the home run was great, and I was happy to hit it and happy to contribute. In the postseason, you know, you go 1-for-5 with a home run, you feel pretty good about it. But I was really more pleased with, all right, now I feel like I can compete maybe. I am driving the ball that way. Felt good about my set up, that kind of thing.

Q. Lance, obviously you knew Andy when you came over to the Yankees. But otherwise I think it was a pretty alien environment until you come to New York. Was there any kind of adjustment problems with you in terms of playing there? And how has the experience playing for the Yankees differed from maybe what you expected?

LANCE BERKMAN: It's all been -- the things that have been different have all been positive. Really didn't know what to expect. You come to a clubhouse with so many big name players. It is an All Star team. Every one of those guys is unbelievable. You look at credentials and that kind of thing, it's amazing. But really not a lot of big egos. Everybody is a great guy. They are fun to be around. It is not the clubhouse environment that I expected at all.

I felt like it was going to be a bunch of superstars doing their own thing and it is not that way at all. Anytime you go to a new team with a new group of guys, regardless whether it is New York or Kansas City, it will take some time to get adjusted. You don't feel like you're really part of the team until you have done something to help the team.

And it's weird, because you come over, those guys have been playing for four months and they have been, you know, sweating it out and grinding it out. And then you are there, like, hey, here I am, I am the new guy and you try to fit in as best you can. But it's hard to when you come over so late in the season.

Q. You batted eighth tonight.

LANCE BERKMAN: Big snowman, yeah.

Q. Not submerging your ego asking you to bat eighth

LANCE BERKMAN: At least don't put me in front of the pitcher, I would like to see some better pitches to hit. I never hit eighth before, never have been -- I can't say that I did get pinch-hit for one time in Houston a long time ago, but, you know, it's different. I mean, and you have to be willing, but what am I going to do? It makes you feel better when you have A-Rod and Tex and Robby and Grandy. Those are great, great players. And I mean, I don't expect to hit in front of any of those guys. I am just glad to be in the lineup.

Q. Lance, was there any point in the last couple of months whether on the DL or not where you maybe wondered whether it was the right move to come over here?

LANCE BERKMAN: Yeah, I think you definitely have those thoughts. I know in my heart it was definitely the right move. Even if it is disastrous for me personally, it was good for me where I was in Houston mentally. Like at that point in my career, I needed to at least see what it was like somewhere else as far as, you know, if it was me, if it was the environment. And I'm glad I did. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about how I feel about the game of baseball, and how I feel about the City of Houston, just from coming over here and getting to be around so many great players. It has been a tremendous experience. Regardless if I have gotten my last Yankee hit ever, I still look back on this and say this is absolutely the right thing to do. And I'm very happy that I decided to waive my no-trade clause.

Q. Lance, I think it was kind of when you were on the DL you talked a lot about even if they won, if you didn't sort of play a part, it wouldn't feel like were you part of it. With the home run or the double, at any point did you feel like you kind of now had your moment and you're a part of this now?

LANCE BERKMAN: Like I said, I think it is a good beginning. It is one game, but every game in the postseason is a big game. So yeah, I feel good about the contribution. I'd like to continue to make those contributions going forward. And if I can do that, you know, in the postseason especially, it does help you. I mean, that will bond you to your teammates really quickly when you start getting big hits in the playoffs. And definitely helps you feel like you're doing something, because I don't think you can take quite as much joy in a victory or the ultimate victory, let's say we won the World Series, if you don't participate. If you are just sitting on the bench and watching and don't do anything, it is hard to take as much joy as if you help them win the game.

Q. Lance, the 2-2 pitch that preceded the double, how close was it? Were you taking a peek back to make sure it was a ball?

LANCE BERKMAN: I mean, I felt like it was a ball. I had to swing at it, I had two strikes. It was a tough pitch. You know, I've had a lot of people ask me about it, and like it was right down the middle or something. That's a very borderline pitch. Sometimes it gets called, sometimes it doesn't. I felt like Hunter was very consistent all night with not giving anything inside. He was giving probably four to six inches off the outside corner, wasn't giving anything over the inside corner. So that was the strike zone. And I mean, I have been punched out plenty on balls that I didn't think were strikes, so what the heck. You know, if he had called it, I wouldn't have been happy about it, but I wouldn't have been shocked.

But bottom line, that's the game of baseball. You know, it's one of the things that happens and I am glad that the call went our way tonight, and the next time it might not.

Q. Lance, you have a different perspective watching Andy pitch, you played with him obviously in Houston. This is the first time you played alongside him here. Did you detect any differences or similarities to what you remember him in big games in Houston?

LANCE BERKMAN: Yeah, the same old Andy. Great in big games and that's how he was in Houston, that's how he's been here. That's who he is. I mean, the guy, he will give you a good start, there is no doubt about it. And I don't see a lot of -- guys have asked me a lot about is the postseason different. Postseason is the postseason and I don't care, a World Series game is a World Series game, it doesn't matter where you are playing. The intensity, the adrenaline and nobody manages that better than Andy. I mean, whether he did it there or here, he's the same guy. He does it everywhere. He'd do it for the Pirates or the Royals if they happened to make the postseason

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