Monday, August 2, 2010

Sherman, on Berkman's first two games

We promise not to inundate you with Berkman/Oswalt links, but for now it's a little too interesting not to take note of. For instance, Joel Sherman's new post:

He not only was having his worst season. He was having his worst season in the NL Central, the majors' worst division by far. What he is doing going from the NL Central to the AL East is the equivalent of going from the Ivy League to the Southeastern Conference in college football. Everything is going to get faster, better, more talented and more passionate.

What players who come to the Yankees – unless they come from Boston or maybe one or two other places – notice quickly is the intensity of the games. Every pitch matters when you are a Yankee. It is a lingering effect of having a team owned by George Steinbrenner, playing in the largest media market in the world, having the most fans, having the most enemies, having the largest payroll, by far, and having the most expectations, by far.

It is a unique cauldron. And players either love and embrace the intensity or find this is a difficult place to play. It certainly takes getting used to and Berkman, Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns have to recalibrate two-thirds of the way through the year. But as bad as the Indians are, Wood and Kearns were at least playing in the AL. Berkman was not only playing in the inferior league, but within the softest division.

Two games is too small a sample size, especially when it is your first two games in a new place and against a team as good as the Rays. But Berkman looked slow and inadequate on both sides of the ball. Maybe that is about a natural transition. Or maybe it is about going from the Ivy League to the SEC.


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