If only aging Cashman Field had the rich history and tradition of, say, Boston’s Fenway Park, the Los Angeles Dodgers might have overlooked the batting cages in the parking lot and remained affiliated with the 51s five years ago instead of leaving Las Vegas for Albuquerque, N.M.
Then again, not everyone is a fan of historic ballparks like Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Just ask Lance Berkman, whose Texas Rangers opened an interleague series there Tuesday against the Cubs.
“If they’re looking for a guy to push the button when they blow the place up, I’ll do it,” he said (before Monday’s tragedy in Boston took place).
The former Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals slugger has a .215 batting average in 177 games at Wrigley Field, where he doesn’t care for the cramped clubhouses and dugouts, the condition of the playing surface or the Windy City weather.
“Chicago’s one of the worst places in baseball really for anything,” he said. “I really don’t like it. I read where they got approval for some more upgrades. Count me in the group of people extremely happy to see that. I guess I’m just spoiled.
“There is a tremendous history associated with it, and there is something special about playing on the same field that guys like Babe Ruth did. But really, what kind of history is there? It’s not like there has been one championship after another. It’s mainly been a place for people to go and drink beer.”
Wow. After making comments Cubs fans surely would consider sacrilegious, Berkman better think twice about ordering a postgame pizza or beer in Wrigleyville.
Right-hander Derek Holland, who started Tuesday for Texas, was looking forward to pitching in the park he named his dog, Wrigley, after.
“I want to pitch there really bad,” he said. “It’s Wrigley. It’s a historic park. You don’t have parks like that anymore.”
■ BARKING BOBBLEHEADS — On the subject of dogs, the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday are giving away a bobblehead in the likeness of Cy Young Award winner David Price’s dog, Astro.
But no bobbleheads are planned for George Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy or Jane, his wife.
Price’s French bulldog has become quite the celebrity, attracting nearly 3,500 followers on his Twitter account, but we’re pretty sure Rays prospect Chris Gimenez isn’t a big fan.
Astro apparently tried to shower some luck on the catcher’s equipment bag before a spring training game on St. Patrick’s Day. Price called it “lucky pee” worthy of at least a double, but it didn’t help Gimenez, a former UNR player who struck out to end the game and later was optioned to Triple-A Durham.
■ TIGER JAMMED — Masters officials didn’t reveal the name of the viewer who alerted them to Tiger Woods’ rule violation, but Thomas Vonn — the ex-husband of Woods’ girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn — took to Twitter to claim credit.
“No problem Masters tournament happy to call in and help,” he wrote. “You always have to keep an eye on those cheaters :).”
Not that he’s bitter. The New York Post also was happy to pile on, running this headline on Sunday’s cover: “Tiger puts balls in wrong place again.”
COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL