Christmas in July for former Wildcat

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

Former Wildcat Michael Bertram is realizing his boyhood dream -- playing baseball for a living. This past weekend, the Lafayette product enjoyed one of his finest days as a pro.

Michael Bertram must think Christmas is a year-round holiday.  For one, his mom, Sharon, is a breast cancer survivor, for which we all are grateful.  He's also living a dream, playing pro baseball when many said he'd never earn a college scholarship.

The Lafayette product walked-on at UK, earned that scholarship and become an integral cog in the Big Blue Machine that won the 2006 Southeastern Conference championship, the school's first in it's 100-plus year history.

After being drafted in the 39h round by Detroit, Bertram is in his fourth season as a professional.  By all indications, Bertram is making a case for sticking around a few more years.

Already, Bertram has moved from first base, to catcher, to first base and now to third base, where he played at UK.  Bertram had never caught in his life, but when his manager needed a backup, Bertram volunteered.  It's just another way for Bertram to get on the field.

A couple of weeks ago, Bertram clobbered his first career grand slam, as his Lakeland Flying Tigers blanked Clearwater, 12-0.  It was the first 4-RBI, 4-bagger in his life.

This past Saturday, it was Christmas in July night at Lakeland's Merchant Stadium.  Cue the former Wildcat.  Bertram became the first Florida State League player in 11 years to hit for the cycle. 

Incidentally, Bertram fell a homer shy of the cycle against Charlotte on June 18 and finished a triple shy of the feat on July 6 at Clearwater.

Bertram is having his best season as a pro -- he's belted 10 home runs, leads the team with 42 RBI and has raised his batting average to .267. 

Here's hoping there's more presents waiting soon, like a phone call from Santa, saying Bertram's being promoted to AA Erie, or better.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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