Lance Berkman said that one of the things that struck him about his new team is how committed so many players were to their craft. He would later also discover that the Texas Rangers were a close-knit team and a good group of people to hang out with.

Berkman believes that same kind of closeness contributed to the Cardinals winning a World Series in 2011, and now he's lucky enough to land in a similar situation.

During the first week of Spring Training, though, it was the professionalism of the group that stuck out. Players showed up very early in Spring Training, and hours before formal workouts began, there'd be many of them going at it in the weight room or the batting cages. Berkman had been on other teams that had players who worked hard and were passionate about the game. With the Rangers, it was the sheer number of players with that kind of commitment.

One of the story lines of this Spring Training was how good the Rangers would be after an offseason in which free-agent defections stripped their roster of outfielder Josh Hamilton, catcher Mike Napoli and relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. President of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels also traded veteran Michael Young.

Daniels also came up short in his efforts to land Zack Greinke and Justin Upton. Instead, he settled for two less-splashy veterans in Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski.

With starter Colby Lewis recovering from torn flexor tendon surgery, and with the Rangers coming off a spectacular September meltdown, it was difficult to know just how good they would be.

All they've done is prove that good organizations endure and that Daniels has built one of baseball's best. Despite all the changes, the Rangers finished April at 17-9, tied with the Braves for baseball's second-best record.