Lance Berkman knew he couldn’t run from the cameras. So the Cardinals’ outfielder looked straight into the first one that zoomed in on his face and offered a mea culpa to the entire state of Texas.
“I’m not afraid to say, ‘Hey, I wasn’t right,’ ” Berkman said.
One of the subplots to Game 1 of the World Series, which starts tonight in St. Louis, is that Berkman never thought the Texas Rangers would be playing in it. That’s why he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Cardinals in the offseason, even though the Rangers also pursued him.
Berkman told a Houston radio station in January that the Rangers were an “average team” without star pitcher Cliff Lee, and that they caught “lightning in a bottle and they got hot” when they made last year’s World Series.
The Cardinals, Berkman figured, had the pieces to make a deep postseason run.
Turns out the Rangers did, too.
“Certainly the last thing I want is to have the entire state of Texas to be mad at me,” Berkman said before a workout Tuesday at Busch Stadium. “I don’t want to disrespect any players the Rangers have, because they have a fine baseball team. I think if you say enough things publicly, eventually you’re going to say some things that are probably not great, and that’s the case here.”
Starters on deck
Rangers manager Ron Washington announced Tuesday that Colby Lewis will start Game 2 on Thursday night. He’ll go against the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia.
The rest of his World Series rotation is still to be determined, but Washington felt comfortable pitching Lewis after Game 1 starter C.J. Wilson because that’s the way it’s been most of the year.
“He’s rested, he’s ready to go, he’s been throwing the ball extremely well,” Washington said. “With him and C.J. back to back, it worked all year, and we finally got back to that one-two punch.”
On the road again
Texas is starting the World Series on the road for the second straight year.
Before the winner of the All-Star game started determining which league would host Game 1, home-field advantage for the World Series alternated between the American and National leagues. Under the old rules, Texas would have hosted at least one opener over a two-year period.
“I’ve never been a big fan of it, even when the American League was winning all those years in a row,” Rangers first baseman-DH Michael Young said. “An exhibition game that happens in July, with about 95 percent of the guys who aren’t even in (the World Series), dictates where it’s played. I have a tough time wrapping my arms around that.”
Coincidentally, Washington of the Rangers was the A.L. All-Star manager this year, and Wilson – who starts Game 1 for Texas tonight – was the losing pitcher.
“I said that when we lost, that I would have liked to have had home-field advantage. But right now, that’s only wishing,” Washington said. “You’ve got to go play baseball, it’s not wishing.”
Last year, the Rangers lost the first two games of the World Series in San Francisco. They won Game 3 at home before losing two in a row and ending the series.