They say a watched pot never boils. Will a watched clock count down?
At least in this final weekend before Opening Day, we get to enjoy some "serious" exhibition games, as some teams play for regional pride. e.g. A’s v. Giants, Cincy v. Cleveland, the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles v. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Sheesh!
On the way to wet Oakland-yeah, it’s raining again–the Yankees stop by Chase Field in Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks. This gives Eric Byrnes a chance to get a feel for the field. He’s never played at Chase before.
He who will rule in center field finally gets a chance to survey his new domain. <big, toothy grin>
Go Byrnesie! Go Snakes! Go AWAY Rain!
Kéllia "Soggy" Ramares
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, or, Drumming My Fingers on the Keyboard, Waiting for the Season to Begin
When Eric Byrnes was on KNBR yesterday, he said he had packed four days ago. He’s champing at the bit for the regular season to start. So am I. So is Red Sox Chick, so is just about anyone who plays or watches baseball. Let’s GO already!
Byrnesie was 1-4 in today’s 7-4 loss to the Cubs. His 6th inning line drive single off the pitcher’s leg was good for 2 runs. The pitcher is OK, which is better luck than the Snakes’ third base coach had a while back. He caught an Eric Byrnes line drive foul with his shod but ungloved foot and ended up on crutches.
So the good news was the RBI hit; Byrnesie’s got a five-game hitting streak going. The bad news: Byrnesie himself didn’t get driven in that time. And The Snakes had the bases loaded twice, in the 2nd and 9th innings, but got no runs in the 2nd inning and only 1 in the ninth. Since there was no radio or TV coverage (GRRR!), With the box score listing Byrnesie with one strike out and 3 runners left on base, and him batting 7th, I’m figuring that the strike out came with the bases loaded in the 2nd. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the likely scenario. (And if I am wrong, it’s due to the lack of info that occurs in spring training. Another reason to be anxious for the regular season to begin!)
I’ve seen Byrnesie have some rather ugly at-bats with the bags full. He has yet to hit a grand slam in the major leagues. I think it’s a mental thing. Sometimes he tries too hard. I’m hoping this year he relaxes at the plate a bit. (This seems to be the case with what little I have seen so far, but bases loaded is always a stressful situation for all concerned). I’m looking forward to him driving in more runs with the bases loaded this year. I hope that in 2006 he does hit a grand slam, and that I get to see it as it happens. But, in general, a single or a double in those situations would be just fine!
The end of the rain in the Bay Area would also be just fine! Yup, the precip came down again today. It’s March 30th. We have had rain the Bay Area for 24 days this month. That’s a new record, as is the amount we’ve gotten. And this is going to go on into April. Don’t be surprised if the A’s-Yanks Opening Night gets rained out. Not that I would have gone anyway. I went to Opening Night in 2004, and froze my you-know-what off. During the 7th inning stretch, I went to the concession stand; I was still some 20-30 feet away when the vendor said to me, "We’re out of hot chocolate and coffee." Was I that blue from the cold that he knew I wanted to order one of those? (Hot Chocolate. I gave up coffee in college after OD’ing on coffee and Vivarin during a final exam period). After that, I swore off "Opening Night." The only way I would have gone this year is if "My Friend, the Yankees Fan" had made it out here. But she didn’t.
I had an attack of hives today. Maybe I’ve grown allergic to the rain.
The Opening Night game is a sellout, but the reason this is the case is that the A’s have decided to reduce the seating capacity of the stadium in 2006 by not selling third deck seats. I’ll gripe about that more fully in another post. The various social/political implications of such a move deserve the kind of thought I can’t give the subject this late at night.
Apparently a lot of the West Coast is getting the wet weather. I was listening to the Dodgers-Mariners game tonight and heard that the Mariners are going to play their Tacoma farm team this Saturday; if it rains in Tacoma, the game will be moved to the dome at Safeco. Tickets purchased for the Tacoma game will be honored at Safeco, AND anyone else who wants to attend the game at Safeco can get in free. (Just what the people who bought tickets in Tacoma want to hear, I’ll bet).
Of course, a lot of rain in the Seattle area, or in Portland, Oregon, is no surprise, but this is more rain than we’ve had in a relatively short stretch in the Bay Area since 1983. Climate change, anyone?
There are big puddles in the ground in the park across the street from me. The ground is so saturated in the bay Area that shallow-rooted trees are falling into power lines, causing blackouts. Certain neighborhoods are starting to get mudslides, too. The drainage at the Oakland Coliseum and Whatever-They’re-Calling-It-This-Year Park in San Francisco is no doubt better than what’s across the street from me, but still, this is not a good time to be an outfielder in the Bay Area.
To make the matter more depressing, the D’Backs are opening in Denver and Mother Nature is calling for snowshowers there on April 3rd. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen until AFTER the game. It’s already been too long (and too wet) a spring.
Go Byrnesie! Go Snakes! Go AWAY, Rain!
Kellia "Soggy" Ramares
MLB.com is running a "handicapping" series this week. And today’s article, by Robert Falkoff, was titled Players on the rebound: MLB.com looks at the players most likely to recover from ’05. The article talked mostly about players who had suffered major injuries. (May they all come back fully recovered!) But it mentioned as well several players who had bad seasons not due to illness or injury: Adrian Beltre, Justin Morneau, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jeremy Affeldt, Mike Lowell, Eric Milton, Carlos Beltran, and Oliver Perez.
Hey, Falkoff, you missed somebody…Eric Byrnes! How quickly the media likes to forget that in 2004 Byrnes hit .283 and had 20 homers, 39 doubles and 73 RBI. Fortunately, smart GMs don’t assume one abysmal, aberrant year tells the whole story. Byrnesie got at least five offers in December. He’s going to be one of the sparkplugs of the 2006 Arizona Diamondbacks.
As the article said: "The trick is to show the resiliency and resolve to bounce back strong, putting that disappointing season in the rear-view mirror and speeding away to brighter days." Eric Byrnes has that resiliency and resolve. So sure..go ahead…be that way…leave him off the list of likely rebound players to keep an eye on in the National League! I’ll keep an eye on him for you. I’ll keep both eyes on him. Better yet, I’ll keep four eyes on him, since I wear glasses. Eric Byrnes is going to be just fine!
Go Byrnesie! Go Snakes!
Eric Byrnes gave an interview this morning on KNBR, a San Francisco sports talk radio station, where he sometimes co-hosts offseason. When the hosts mentioned how well he was doing in spring training (.347 BA w/4 homers and tied for the club lead in RBIs) he said that the second half of last year was "aberrational". And he mentioned the two trades with the playing for three teams and four managers, and the steroid suspension of Palmeiro and the DUI arrest of Ponson, although he did not mention Ponson by name. Just as I, and no doubt many others, have suspected, Byrnesie’s performance was affected by the trades and team turmoil. I think he would h ave had to have been superhuman not to be affected.
But all that is over now. Byrnesie has a fresh start with a new team. He recalled that when he signed with the Diamondbacks in December he said, "I found a team that believes in me half as much as I believe in myself." This is not sarcasm. This is actually great praise because Byrnesie believes in himself tremendously. He acknowledged his inconsistencies, but he thinks that now he’s past the point in his career of great highs and great lows. And while he also acknowledged that the Giants are the favorites to win the NL West, he thinks the D’Backs are a team to watch out for, especially if there are no injury problems.
While Byrnesie likes the pitching, mentioning specifically Webb. Batista and "El Duque" Hernandez, he is especially enthusiastic about the lineup. He says that Luis Gonzalez (veteran left fielder and team leader) is in the best shape he (Byrnes) has ever seen him, and he thinks veteran right fielder Shawn Green will have a big year. (Let’s hope so. His performance in spring training hasn’t suggested that). Among the younger players, Byrnes expects Stephen Drew to be the regular shortstop by the end of the year, and thinks highly of rookie first baseman Conor Jackson. As for the 18-year-old Justin Upton, the Snakes first round draft pick last year who got a few at-bats in Major League camp, (6-10), Byrnes said there hasn’t been a guy that good that young since the 18 year-old Ken Griffey, Jr. He expects good things from Upton in the years to come. And in just general tone and energy, Eric Byrnes sounded like he would like to still be in Phoenix when Upton makes the majors.
As you can imagine, being that it’s in San Francisco, KNBR is a very pro-Giants station. The show hosts said that Byrnesie would be the one Diamondback they would root for. It doesn’t work that way for me. Go Byrnesie! Go Snakes! (I want my favorite player to get a ring!)
I’m ready for Opening Day. Eric Byrnes sounded like he is, too. Now, if it would only stop raining in Oakland.
I really don’t know if Eric Byrnes is the type to set numerical goals for himself. Some guys do, and make it public, some guys don’t, and others probably do but keep it to themselves. While I really don’t care if Byrnes does or doesn’t—he’s just always looking to get better and that’s good enough for me—baseball is the most statistical of sports.
So I am going to put up a few benchmarks that I think would be great for Byrnes to meet or exceed. If he does, that will certainly help his team win, and help his chances of getting a good contract next year. Byrnes is only signed for one year and I would like to see him get a multi-year contract next time. Stability is a good thing for a ball player. I don’t think it is a mere coincidence that pitcher Bruce Chen had his best year, 13 wins, last year. He was with the Baltimore Orioles all last season; 2005 was the first year since his rookie year that Chen was with one team throughout an entire season. Of course, pitcher Bronson Arroyo might have a different opinion on the alleged stability of a multi-year contract. But I would love to see Byrnesie get a three-year, maybe even a four-year, deal next time. Hitting some numerical targets would help that cause.
Games: 143. This is how many he appeared in 2004. Of course, Byrnes would play all 162 if someone would let him. But so far, no one has let him and we can’t expect that Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin will be the first. It appears that the decision already has been made to have the fourth outfielder, Jeff DaVanon, who can play all three outfield positions, get most of his playing time at center field. But Byrnesie needs to be out there a lot to play well, and he did sign on to be the Diamondbacks’ every day CF, so I am hoping to see something quite near the 2004 games numbers this year.
Batting Average: .303. Byrnes hit .263 in 2003, the first year he made the Opening Day roster. He hit .283 in 2004. Another 20-point leap would be .303. I think he’s capable of .323, and if he gets that this year, terrific! But I’m willing to wait another season for that one, given that Byrnesie is changing leagues.
HR: 25. This is 5 better than his career high of 20 in 2004. I think he’s capable of 30+, He’s strong; he’ll get his share of jacks. However, I think he needs to focus on a higher batting average than on more homers this year and that will mean more contact and situational hitting rather than trying to get it over the fence. If he can just show more patience at the plate: a willingness to work deeper into the count and a willingness to walk more, pitchers are not going to be able to throw him as much low and away junk as they did during abysmal, aberrant 2005. And when pitchers make mistakes to Byrnes, they often need a replacement baseball. The 30+ will show up this year if those pitchers end up making more mistakes.
RBIs: 90. I want to say 100, but the combination of the times when Byrnes will bat leadoff and the times he won’t play at all might prevent this. Still, 100 is the gold standard of RBI production and is possible. Byrnes drove in 73 runs in ’04.
Doubles: 45. This is a bit better than the 39 Byrnes hit in 2004. A higher BA means more hits over all and that means more 2Bs over all because Eric is fast and strong and a high percentage of his hits are for extra bases. Forty-five doubles would put him up among the league leaders, which is where he should be in this category.
K/BB ratio: 1:1 Eric needs to show more willingness to walk. It helps the OBP. You can’t steal second until you get on first. And speaking of stolen bases…
SB: 30. If the D’Backs are more willing to take the extra base than Byrnes’ first organization, the A’s, were, we should see Byrnesie swiping a lot of bags. He’s got the speed and aggressiveness to be a good base stealer; he needs a team that values that talent. Is it the D’Backs?
Other Notes: With the D’Backs on the tube today, I saw Eric lay down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to move Chris Snyder, who had walked, to second base in the third inning. Of course, I’m wondering why the manager would want to take the bat out of the hands of his leadoff hitter. But as long as sacrifice bunts are asked for, it’s good to know Byrnesie can execute them. The runner did not score.
In the fifth inning, Snyder singled, and Byrnesie doubled him to third. Then Conor Jackson drove them both in with a single. That’s better.
MLB.com reporter Jim Street wrote an article called "Wild, wild NL West should be improved: Offseason enhancements improved division from top to bottom". In listing "New Faces" for the the teams in that division, he listed Johnny Estrada, and "El Duque" Hernandez for the D’Backs, but he missed Gold Glove 2B Orlando Hudson AND Eric Byrnes, while mentioning some NL West mainstays like Brett Tomko (from Giants to Dogders) and Steve Finley (Dodgers, Padres, D’Backs and now Giants). OK, media, forget Byrnesie, underestimate the D’Backs. I’ll be happy to pay attention for you.
From the "I know it’s just spring training, but still…" Department: Today’s game was just background for the White Sox broadcasters, Hawk Harrelson and Darren Jackson, who were yakking about their own former careers. I don’t mind a little of that, but it went on for innings. Frazier batted for Byrnes to lead off the seventh and they never mentioned his name. It’s a good thing D’Backs players have their names on the backs of their jerseys. Here’s another reason to be happy the regular season will soon be upon us: Once the games count, there will be no more having regulars like Byrnes pinch-hit for by minor leaguers like Frazier.
Eric Byrnes went 1-2 with a double, a run scored and a sac bunt as the D’Backs beat the White Sox 3-1. And we’re one day closer to Opening Day!
P.S. More wind and rain yesterday and today in Oakland. BRRR! and GRRR! Would anyone out there like to send me some water wings?
Any time Eric Byrnes get a hit, or makes a great defensive play, is an occasion to be of good cheer. –Kéllia Ramares, Aug. 25, 2005
Well today Eric Byrnes got a hit, a sharp single to left his first time up (1-3), AND made a great defensive play, a “running back toward the wall while keeping his eye on the ball full out extension dive into the air to catch it” play that announcer Mark Grace, who knows a thing or two about MLB, was still praising, with reason, innings later. A rarity for you to see, Gracie, but par for the course for us Byrnes-watchers, who never tire of seeing our guy turn potential extra-base hits into loud outs. Get delightfully used to it!
AND I got to see the hit and the catch! Finally! (Yeah, I work in radio, but I’d much rather watch baseball than listen to it, especially when Eric Byrnes is patrolling the outfield).
Three AB’s is really not enough for me to say a whole bunch about Byrnesie’s batting mechanics, so I won’t until I’ve seen more. (I am having trouble lately getting MLB up on my workstation computer, but I will deal with that later this week). I will say this much, though: Given what I saw in today’s game, what I saw in a little quote of him they played during the telecast, and what his manager, Bob Melvin had to say about his all-out style of play and infectious clubhouse personality, I would say Byrnesie’s working hard as ever, but is relaxed and happy with the D’Backs. This spells good things for him and them. (And for people like me who are rooting for him to do very well).
Byrnes batted 7th today. With Craig Counsell back from his injury, there is a bit of a logjam at the top of the order. Shortstop Counsell, second baseman Hudson, who batted second and homered today, center fielder Byrnes, and even catcher Johnny Estrada are all capable tablesetters. With the Cubs starting a right hander, Byrnes was moved down in the order. But against southpaws, he’s expected to see some at bats at leadoff or the two hole this season.
The D’Backs bolstered their bullpen today. Brad Halsey was scheduled to start today’s game but he was traded to Oakland this morning for reliever Juan Cruz, a right-hander. Eric Byrnes has played with Cruz and likes the deal. In a Steve Gilbert story about the trade, Byrnesie said, "He’s a good pitcher that’s got electrifying stuff. He throws in the upper 90s and has an unbelievable slider. I think he’s a great pickup for us. I’m very excited to have him."
Other Notes: Congrats to George Mason, the team many said should not be in the NCAA tournament. They beat U Conn, the team I thought would take it all, 86-84 in OT to make the Final Four.
Even though I had to leave off watching the game, which ended D’Backs 6 Cubs 0, to go to work, it was sunny in Oakland and 62 degrees. That’s another reason to be of good cheer, what with all the cold, wind and rain we have had in Oakland of late.
One piece of bad news: Indy car driver Paul Dana, of the Rahal-Letterman racing team, died after a crash in practice at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The rookie driver was 30 years old.
The Diamondbacks had runners on first and second and no one out in the seventh inning against the geographically-challenged Angels yesterday, when Eric Byrnes came up to bat. He was asked to sacrifice them over. (Daryl cringes. He hates the sacrifice bunt!) The first pitch was a ball. Byrnesie tried to bunt the second pitch but fouled it back. Strike one. The third pitch was a ball. With the count in Byrnes’ favor, the bunt sign was taken off. Byrnesie sent the fourth pitch into territory well beyond the left-centerfield wall. <big, toothy grin>
What is the moral of this story, beyond the fact that it is more fun to hear your favorite player hit a three-run-homer than it is to hear him bunt?
It’s that patience is a virtue. When a hitter, especially a guy with pop in his bat, like Eric Byrnes, can run the count in his favor, it’s less likely that a pitcher will try cutesy stuff like throwing low and away junk to get the hitter to chase a bad one; the pitcher doesn’t want to risk issuing a walk. In yesterday’s scenario, a walk would have loaded the bases. Special moral of the story to pitcher J. Bulger: he who does not precisely locate his fastball to Eric Byrnes often needs a replacement sphere. <heh-heh-heh>
AMN of Some Ballyard put it well: "A skilled batter is not simply attempting to hit the pitch. He is attempting to hit the pitch with purpose…Often an at bat has multiple purposes, and varies depending on how the at bat unfolds, which is obviously dependent on what the pitcher, who also has his objectives, throws. "
Of course, there are several ways to advance runners. The home run is the most fun. But, as it has been said, "The three-run homer does not come to the park everyday." Earlier in the day, Eric Byrnes demonstrated another method. He advanced Craig Counsell from first to second with an opposite-field single to right. Moral of that story: go with the pitch, be willing to use more of the field, or as Wee Willlie Keeler said, "Hit ‘em where they ain’t." It’s great for the batting average, the OBP, and it sometimes leads to runs for the team.
Unfortunately, such was not the case this particular inning. What should have been at least bases loaded with one out after Byrnesie batted, was instead runners on first and second with two out after that single because Orlando Hernandez, who had singled earlier, got thrown out trying to steal second. Just what the heck was in "El Duque’s" mind when he tried to steal with Counsell and Byrnes coming up behind him? Pitchers, especially old pitchers, should not try to steal bases. (Bobby, of Deep Fried Fish Blog, might partially disagree. But Dontrelle Willis knows more about baserunning than most pitchers do because he hits way better than most pitchers do. Still, even D-Train barrelling down the basepaths can be unsettling to his own team).
Eric Byrnes’s spring batting average is now a hefty .341. And the astrologically inclined among you should note that he had his Mars return on the 24th. Mars is a symbol of our physical energy and assertiveness that is especially important to athletes. About every two years, Mars returns to where it was when a person was born. The Mars return marks a new two-year cycle and is a great time to launch new projects, and fastballs over the wall. Happy Mars Return, Byrnesie! 2006 is promising to be a good year for you.
Other Notes: Yesterday was a truly great day for Eric Byrnes. Not only did he go 2-4 with a homer, 3 RBI and a run scored in a game the D’Backs won, but his UCLA Bruins made the Final Four.
The Diamondbacks and the geographically-challenged Angels are on the radio today. The Arizona broadcasters started talking about ex-Angel Jeff DaVanon, who figures to be the Snakes’ No. 4 outfielder. They talked about how he can play center field.
Jeff DaVanon can play all three outfield positions and he’s a switch-hitter, which makes him a very flexible utility player. But the reporters covering the D’Backs like to hone in on Jeff playing center field, which is Eric Byrnes’ position. WHY? It is right fielder Shawn Green who is having a lousy spring at the plate. It is left fielder Luis Gonzalez who is 38-years-old–Byrnes turned 30 in February–and might need a few day games after night games off.
I am not suggesting that DaVanon should never, ever play center field, but DaVanon is mentioned more as a center fielder than as a guy who can play all three positions. (BTW, Byrnesie can do that, too). All this center field talk strikes me as media reports of a de facto platoon, which is the last thing Byrnesie, who signed on to be the everyday center fielder, needs. He did his best in 2004, the year he played the most games. That is no coincidence. Some guys are great off the bench; that’s a special talent. Others needs to play a lot to be their best. Byrnesie is one of those.
As I started this entry, Byrnesie hit a single to right field. He’s been hitting more to center and right this spring than he has in past years. Looks like someone in AZ has been helping him see the value of going with the pitch and hitting to all fields. Opposite field hitting will enable him to better deal with the low and away pitches that right-handers, especially, liked to throw him last year. Forget abysmal, aberrant 2005! Byrnesie’s going to have a good year in 2006. So enough already of all this talk of Jeff DaVanon playing center field!
Update at 1:59 P.M. Eric Byrnes just hit a big 3-run homer!!! D’Backs leading 6-1. Chalk up another multi-hit day for him!
Go Byrnesie! Go Snakes!
The players really liked the WBC, which is the most important thing. And the fans generally supported it. It certainly produced some great games. (And some stinkers like USA v. South Africa). But I would like to see some changes before the next one.
Purpose: Given that this tournament showed that there is a high level of baseball being played around the world, the WBC should turn, fairly quickly, into a true world’s championship, rather than an Olympic style exhibition.
Timing: Right now, the plan is for having the next WBC in three years (2009) and then once every four years thereafter. To turn it into a World’s Championship, it should be played every year. That may be hard to arrange at first, so it should start with the idea put forth by the Cuban manager Higinio Velez to have it every two years.
Timing II: The March play is still problematic. As good as some of the games were, there were still issues with players, especially pitchers, not having their timing down. And some pitchers, such as Miguel Batista of the Diamondbacks and the Dominican Republic, didn’t get as much work as expected during the tournament. (Though the D’Backs think Batista is on pace to be ready for the beginning of the regular season). Pitcher Mike Timlin of the Boston Red Sox, has the right idea: Play the WBC after the World Series. If it is turned into an annual event, then the US season can be shortened a month, by ditching interleague play. This would help keep the US team, which has a very long season, reasonably fresh, and should allow the WBC to be played without interfering with the Caribbean winter ball schedule.
This change in timing might be a problem for Cuba, as it would move the tournament from the middle of their season to the beginning, but I have a feeling the Cubans, experienced at playing tournaments, can figure out how to field a competitive team at that time of the year. Since Cuba is a tropical island, it should not be difficult for their tournament team to get an early start on preparation. Even if there is a hurricane—note that the Cubans have their season when it is offseason for hurricanes–a country in the area that has normal relations with them should be willing to host the team so that they can prepare early.
Format: The semis and the finals should be series. This should be achievable without extending the length of the tournament inordinately by limiting participation to the most elite teams. The WBC could have started with the Round 2 teams, and had the semis be two out of three and the finals 3 out of 5. Perhaps regional tournaments could be used to get other countries into the top tier of play as they improve their game (and to drop usually top teams that are having poor seasons). World Soccer might have examples that baseball can emulate.
Pitch counts: As I said before, let’s leave that up to the managers. A uniform pitch limit and mandatory rest rule is not as fair as it appears on the surface.
Umpiring: The umpiring must be more global and include the best umpires from each country, i.e. "major league" umpires. While the umpiring at the first WBC was generally quite good, if the tournament is truly a "world" tournament, one country should not dominate the umpiring squad.
Other notes: The Diamondbacks were finally on TV last night but I didn’t get to see a single pitch. I was at work, and there was some kind of computer problem, so I couldn’t bring MLB.tv up on my workstation as I usually can. But I found my way to a box score this morning. The Snakes lost to the Mariners 4-2 (Ichiro going 3-3 in his first game since Japan won the WBC). Eric Byrnes went 1-3 with an RBI and now has a spring batting average of .325, which is about where I figure he can be at the end of the regular season. (Of course, if he can do even better than that, I certainly won’t mind!)
NCAA Tournament: As I was walking home from the bus stop last night, someone walked by me and said "You’re not going to believe me but John Wooden was on the bench; the ghost of John Wooden was on the bench." Has the Wizard of Westwood died? I saw a picture of him celebrating No. 95 a few months ago.
Anyway, the message told me that UCLA had defeated Gonzaga. Turns out that it was quite a game; the Bruins didn’t pull it out until the end. With my Indiana Hoosiers out of the tourney, I might as well root for UCLA. Eric Byrnes went there.
It’s gray and threatening rain again in Oakland as the Brew Crew is thumping the Byrnes-less D’Backs, 4-0. The Brewers have the bags full at the moment. <grumble>
1) Eric Byrnes, batting 6th today, had another multi-hit day! A 2-3, "Double with a run scored, and a single" day, as the D’Backs defeated the A’s 11-7. This keeps Byrnesie’s batting average above .300, which is where I am looking forward to it being in October.
It’s spring training for me, too. I took some extra notes and gave some thought to how "The Eric Byrnes Pitch Count Report" will look for this season. It’s going to be more formal this year. Rather than just grabbing what paper I have handy at the start of the game, I am going to have 162 sheets three-hole punched in a loose-leaf binder, ready to go at the start of the season. Byrnesie says he wants to be an everyday player. So let’s see how many of those 162 sheets get filled in.
The Snakes are doing it this spring with offense. Let’s hope they keep hitting once the games count. I think the folks who have picked them to finish no better than third may be surprised. Now, what we need is for the whole starting outfield to play together. It tends to be 2 of the 3 of them, but not all three (Gonzalez-Byrnes-S. Green). Congrats to Conor Jackson who hit two homers.
Of course, I still need to SEE Byrnesie having those multi-hit days on TV! When’s that going to happen?
2) I got a paycheck today that was bigger than I was expecting. (I had forgotten about a project I had done earlier). This hardly gets me out of the financial woods, but I went ahead and ordered my Byrnes/22 AZD T-shirt. I hope it arrives in time for Opening Day. (April 3rd, at Coors against the Rox). I should have it for sure when the Snakes open at Chase Field against the Rox on April 11th.
3) It has not rained in Oakland for three days in a row and it’s getting back to where it’s supposed to be temperature-wise this time of year!