Lance Berkman and the Rangers begin a three-game series with the Cubs tonight in Chicago and when asked about playing at Wrigley Field he didn’t pull any punches with Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram:
If they’re looking for a guy to push the button when they blow the place up, I’ll do it. Chicago’s one of the worst places in baseball … really for anything.
Playing the series under NL rules means Berkman will mostly be on the bench and away from what I’m sure will now be booing. He does have a ton of experience at Wrigley Field, playing 83 career games there while hitting just .215. In fact, among the 16 ballparks in which Berkman has played 25 or more games his worst OPS is at Wrigley.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.