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 MLB.com to discuss his first season as well as the year ahead.
MLB.com: 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).
MLB.com: 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.
MLB.com: 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.
MLB.com: 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.
MLB.com: 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 MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.