So Richard Justice and Lance Berkman had themselves a good sit-down. He spent a lot of time reassuring that he plays hard, and is a leader. What do we learn?
On the public's view of his work-ethic:
It's easy when the interview is on television for people to see it's said tongue-in-cheek. You say some of these things in the print media, and it comes off as serious. I probably should have been a little more guarded with some of my remarks. But I don't want to be a guy that hides behind cliches.
I would like for people to know I do work hard. I worked the whole off-season. The first thing I did was lose about 12 pounds. I follow Gene Coleman's program. They send us home with an off-season training manual.
On his weight:
I like to play at 220. At the end of the season, I was at 230. I was about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. I'm getting older and it's harder to keep the weight off. I don't feel I've ever been fat or unathletic. I joke about it because that's how people perceive me. People tell me I look like I'm 300 pounds on television. I don't run pretty. I'm not the most fluid on the bases. I feel like I always play hard. I run hard. I do care about what we're doing here.
On "dogging it":
Like A-Rod. Until very recently, everything he said was scripted. I'm not going to tell you something because that's what you guys or the general public want to hear. I would hope the people that are truly fans would pay close enough attention to the way I play. I've never dogged it on the field my entire life. If you hit a ground ball to the second baseman, and he's standing there holding it, you may not run 100 percent through first base all the time. You're out halfway down the line. That kind of thing happens.
All I'm saying is that I feel like I've played hard, I've played hurt, I've been on the field, I want to win. I would hope that people that watch the games would know that just by watching.
On the clubhouse environment:
It was really bad. But I don't want people to blame that all on Coop. It was bad because I played bad. I wasn't as good as I can be. Roy was hurt and down. Nobody really played up to what they were supposed to. We had a lot of guys under-perform. In fact, the only guy to perform consistently well was Wandy. He pitched great. Outside of that, everybody had a down year, and that in and of itself creates a horrendous environment. I think people want to say it was the manager. It wasn't all his fault. Certainly, he has some responsibility in that because he was the manager. It was our fault.