DePaola noted with a laugh there’s always a warm-up period when getting a new teammate.
“When someone gets there Week 1, it’s like, everything is just roses and dandy. Like, everything’s great. Every snap I had, Jordan was like, ‘Oh no, it was perfect. It was perfect,’ ” DePaola said. “I felt like I could have thrown it over his head or rolled it back to him, and he would have been like, ‘Hey, no – it’s perfect.’ And then even with him, every ball he hit was like, ‘Oh, it’s a great ball. It’s a great ball.’ So for the first few weeks, that’s kind of how we were getting around each other.
“I would rib Greg because I’d been with him longer and kind of knew what I could and couldn’t say to him. But obviously Jordan, you know, we didn’t know that yet,” DePaola said.
But then one day a few weeks in, Berry had an “off” day at practice.
“I don’t know what it was, but he was just not hitting the ball well. And he wasn’t talking much, so finally I went up to him and I’m like, ‘Hey, why don’t you just take a minute, just relax, do whatever you’ve gotta do.’ And he’s like, ‘I think I’m just gonna do this,’ and I told him, ‘Well, hey, just to let you know – what you’re doing right now? … I mean, it’s terrible. You need to do something else.’ “
Berry turned to DePaola, looked him in the eyes, smiled and thanked him.
“You know, for the first couple weeks, everyone’s just been so nice, telling me I’m hitting a great ball. And you know what? I need the truth. I need, like, ‘Hey, you’re not doing well. Pick it up. That’s what I need,’ ” Berry told DePaola.