Saturday, March 24, 2007

No better face for the Astros

The Associated Press sent a story out Saturday about Lance Berkman becoming the new "face" of the Houston Astros.

Drayton McLane and Co. should be happy. They certainly couldn't have picked a better person on the squad to carry the legacy of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell into a new era.

Sure Roy Oswalt is as down-home and likeable as they come and Chris Burke is about a thousand times closer to a model than the Fat Elvis is. But certainly no one on the Astros' squad embodies what the franchise is about more than Berkman.

He has deep Houston ties, having played at Rice. He's Texan through and through, born in Waco. He's affable and entertaining as Biggio is and was and, on the field, he brings the same intensity Bagwell did.

And don't forget his personality. Berkman may not be in Shaquille O'Neal's class when it comes to one-liners (frankly who is), but he's close. This is a roly-poly baseball player who has coined the nickname "Big Puma" for himself. Ostensibly it's because a puma is graceful, athletic and agile, all things Berkman is not. But what do you expect from a guy who tore up his knee in a church league flag football game yet had enough goodwill built to be able to joke about it as the Astros made their World Series run in 2005.

So here's to the Big Puma, Fat Elvis, or whatever you want to call Lance Berkman, the new face of the Houston Astros.


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