CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs acquired several players in recent days who have a specific purpose on a playoff contending roster. In fact, newcomer Quintin Berry could have an effect on games this month and next if the Cubs indeed make the postseason. And he may never come to the plate.
Berry, 30, is a pinch runner extraordinaire. He stole 21 bases in 94 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2012 and has five career steals in the postseason to go along with 351 in 10 minor league years. He was picked up recently for one role and one role only:
What’s this like for you, to be dropped into a pennant race in a role where you could be a key player late in a big game?
Quintin Berry: “It’s fun and exciting to be a part of. To help with a push to the playoffs and fill a role and have some kind of importance to a team. Happy to be here.”
What has Joe Maddon told you? Do you have the green light whenever you get in there?
QB: “I know my role here and he knows me well. I kind of have the understanding of what they want from me. He wants me to be aggressive and he wants to use me to his advantage. You don’t want to bring a guy like me over here and go station to station. You want that advantage on the base paths and gain an extra base.”
There are pinch-runners that become infamous. Dave Roberts stands out. It’s not a role that flies under radar, is it?
QB: “It’s something that’s getting more and more popular as the years go by. You see what Kansas City did last year. I went to Boston in 2013, that was my role over there. You’re starting to see teams use it a lot more. It’s giving guys like me and Jarrod Dyson an opportunity to shine.
What can fans expect at the plate?
QB: “I walk a lot. My on base has always been good. Just try to work the count and get on base however I can."
So on your first day as a Cub they won a game with a late inning home run. Their celebrations are pretty intense. What was your first one like?
QB (laughing): “I don’t understand how anyone goes to bed after that. You have to be up until 5 in the morning. ‘Now I’m wired.’ I’ve never seen anything like it. It's ridiculous.
“It’s special. Loud. Lights everywhere. Loudest music I’ve ever heard. Chants. Water flying everywhere. Dancing. I didn’t know what was going on. I was never so confused but having such a blast at the same time.
“I don’t think we went that hard when we [Boston] won the World Series.”