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Berthiaume talks D-backs as 2014 gets underway

D-backs television play-by-play man Steve Berthiaume came to Arizona prior to last season from ESPN and immediately seemed to connect with D-backs fans. On the eve of the team's regular-season opener in Sydney, Australia, Berthiaume sat down with to discuss his first season as well as the year ahead. You're entering your second year as the television play-by-play voice for the D-backs, could you just talk a little bit about your experience last year and how you felt about the year?

Berthiaume: Experience is a good word. It was a learning experience, for sure. Like anything else when you start something new, you wind up at the end doing everything completely different than you did at the beginning. And I found very much that was the case with me. It was a process to find that sweet spot between the stuff that I thought was interesting but that other people might think is boring. I like the numbers, I like the sabermetrics, but I tried to sort of find the middle ground there, and also get used to Bob (Brenly) and he had to get used to me. So there was a lot of machinations over the course of the first couple months of the season, but I felt about halfway through the season we got to a nice, comfortable spot, so we should hit the ground running (in 2014). You and your wife, Cindy, live in Arizona, and I know you got to get out and about a bit during the offseason. Did you get any feedback from fans on your first season?

Berthiaume: The D-backs have great fans. They're supportive, they're enthused, they like people who are enthusiastic about their team. I try to do the game and watch the game as a fan, as a D-backs fan and a baseball fan. I don't feel the need to hide that. You don't want to be a homer and a cheerleader, but at the same time, I'm a D-backs employee broadcasting to D-backs fans, and we're all the same team in that sense, and I try to keep that in mind. What do you think the biggest key is for the D-backs this year?

Berthiaume: Health. And we've already taken a big hit with Patrick Corbin. We all know what happened last year with all the injuries, and it was a remarkable run. Not just a guy missing a week here or a week there, two or three months at a time, and you can only overcome so much of that. I think that's absolutely the key. I think if this lineup can stay together, I think they can do a lot of damage. This is a really solid, veteran group and there's not really a weak spot, offensively. We know how good they are defensively, so I expect great things this year if they can stay healthy. Would you agree that a bounce-back year from Miguel Montero would be really important?

Berthiaume: I think he's certainly the linchpin, because they're very right-handed on the downside and for Miggy, a left-handed hitter, he's got to have a good enough year offensively, ideally, to hit in that five spot, because I think that's where he fits best. I really like what Kirk Gibson has done with the lineup. I love Aaron Hill in the two-spot, (Paul Goldschmidt) obviously three, (Martin) Prado I think is a sleeper pick to win a batting title this year. I think he's going to have a monster season, and I really like him hitting fourth, so you need that left-handed bat there in the five spot with Miggy. And (Mark) Trumbo is best suited, for me, as the sixth hitter. So Miggy is the linchpin. Speaking of Trumbo, what did you think of his acquisition?

Berthiaume: I can't wait to see him in Chase Field. The guy is an athlete. Defensively, he's gong to be just fine, he's got a really strong throwing arm, he was drafted as a pitcher by the Angels, of course, but again, it goes back to health, I think. Goldy and Mark in the same lineup all year long, I think 80 homers and 225ish RBIs is not out of the question.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

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