I'm convinced, and have been since December, that one of the main reasons St. Louis Cardinals fans have been able to deal with Albert Pujols's exit so well has been Lance Berkman—the sheer competence and likability of the person who was signed to replace him. Berkman's April Fools prank on Adam Wainwright, himself a likability infusion for the 2012 club, does nothing to dissuade me of this belief.â†µ
Here's how it went down, according to primary accounts from Derrick Goold and Jenifer Langosch: In the third inning of the last Grapefruit League contest of 2012, Roger Dean Stadium's PA announcer did something all PA announcers do: He announced a random-fan giveaway. It was a big one: A truck.
Lance Berkman drove the truck out onto the warning track, where it became clear that it was Adam Wainwright's 2009 Chevy Silverado. Fans were chosen—David Freese's cousin, as it turns out—and Wainwright was left to look confused in the dugout as Berkman's plants hopped into the truck.â†µ
God bless you, Lance Berkman. You're no Albert Pujols, but you'll do.â†µ