No, not the BCS, the BMC — Byrnes Media Circus — 2006. (Hey, he’s negotiating with a network to do it bigger and better next year. Maybe the MLB.com shop can market baseball caps that say BMC on them!)
Eric Byrnes became a media personality in 2006. He’s been doing sports talk shows for about three years. But this was the year he hit the big time on ESPN and Fox during the World Series, and locally, where he guest hosted The Gary Radnich Show on KNBR from 9 – noon, several times, by himself. Well, not exactly by himself but without a co-host. He also did several other shows on KNBR and in Sacramento.
His strength is in radio where no one is going to fuss about what he wears or how or if he’s combed his hair, or whether or not he’s looking into the camera. (He prefers to look at the people he is talking to, which is normal, not TV). He’s never at a loss for words, so when he’s around, 3 is definitely a crowd, 4′s too many & 5 shouldn’t be allowed. But that having been said, I’m sorry the World Series didn’t go back to Detroit where I could have at least caught his post-Game appearances with Jeannie Zelasko & Kevin Kennedy. (Hint: From the two times I did see it. I thought he made Kevin Kennedy seem dull).
On the radio talk shows, he really shines because of his approach, which is to prepare as thoroughly as he would for playing a baseball game. He’s very comfortable speaking about football, college as well as pro. And he brings to the show the same high energy he brings to the diamond.
Byrnesie himself admits that he is still learning the media trade and that often shows up in the very endearing way he shares with the listeners what is going on in the studio, what some of the terminology is–cans are headphones–and even asking out loud what was supposed to happen next when he didn’t know.
He’s a good interviewer; I like him best of all in that format. And he’s shown himself capable of asking good questions to athletes and media people alike. One problem that may be beginning to creep in is how other baseball players now perceive him. Word is that good friend Barry Zito did not want to talk to Byrnes as he got down to picking a team. To Zito, Byrnes was the media now. Lots of athletes do media gigs in the offseason–Vernon Wells and A.J. Pierszynski showed up on ESPN and Fox respectively this post season–but it’s obvious that Byrnes wants to make this his post-baseball career, and that may affect how other players perceive him and interact with him during the season.
I do have one major bone to pick with him and that is the way he speaks about women on the air. For example, one day he kept saying he was going to rate the Giants and A’s off-season signings the way he "rates chicks in a bar." And then he got another sportscaster into it and they started talking about what time it was in the bar and how many drinks they had. A worthwhile sports topic, the quality of the Giants and A’s post season signings, devolved quicky into a demeaning women-as-sex-objects talk. That’s just one example over the course of several shows. But it was the one that made me feel like I didn’t want to hear him again. Women are more than hot, chicks, etc. And this kind of talk was unseemly, not only because women are athletes, serious fans–just read the various blogs by women here; KNBR should be trying to draw in the serious woman fan–and more and more, we are entering the ranks of professional sports reporting, but it was unseemly that this nearly 31-year-old man, who recently announced his engagement, is talking about women like a hormone-crazed 17-year-old boy.
I boycotted his next show, but a woman I know who listened said he did not talk trash about women that day. She attributed that to the presence of a female beat writer for the A’s. The biggest thing he can learn is that what may be acceptable talk in the locker room is not necessarily acceptable on a big-city radio station connected to the Internet. And that goes for things beyond profanites.
I called in on two occasions, the first time about the price of baseball tickets and the second time about Zito, and he was nice to me both times. In fact, I mentioned this blog the second time, and I could tell that he’s really been moved by my efforts here. And I will keep that thought with me through the year when I get depressed because I think people are not paying attention to my journalism.
I will give him a B- for this year’s BMC. It’s definitely a work in progress but the basic talent and drive are there and he shows a lot of promise. It is a work the progress of which has now been suspended, however. He has gone back to AZ to hunker down on preparing for his next baseball season. Which reminds us that pitchers and catchers are only six weeks away.
And with that I offer Eric two suggestions for resolutions for 2007–resolve to speak more respectfully on the air about women, and be more patient at the plate. 30/30 .300 100 is within your grasp. And I look forward to hearing about it in next year’s BMC.
Kéllia "Visualize 150+ STARTS for Byrnesie in 2007" Ramares
11:04 PM, Dec. 31, 2006, Oakland, CA
"Congrats on getting the cream of the free agent crop! While you sound a little less than excited, I have been eager to hear your thoughts. One has to wonder if Zito will be the next A-Rod, meaning when will the madness stop? We still haven’t approached those numbers yet."
The above comment from another Diamondbacks blogger prompts this entry. Well, I’m not really a Giants fan, although my posts arguing that Eric Byrnes should become a Giant may give that impression. I argue for that because I think Eric would enjoy it and have the kind of opportunity he wants, i.e. a multi-year deal as an everyday player. I basically root for two teams: whoever has Eric Byrnes and the Mets. I was hoping Zito would sign with the Mets. I was looking forward to Billy Wagner closing for Zito.
Which brings me to the point of who will close for Zito? He goes from having Huston Street (2005 AL Rookie of the Year) to Armando "Arthritis" Benitez.
Around the newsroom at KPFA, I often said "run support for Barry Zito is a beautiful thing." Will he get that with the Giants compared to what he would have gotten with some of the other teams mentioned in the Zito sweepstakes such as the Mets, the Angels, the Yankees?
If Zito doesn’t come up with 18-20 wins because of a poor bullpen or poor run support, he’s not to blame, but with the price tag attached to his contract, he’ll be in the fans’ and media’s crosshairs. So basically, the Giants still have work to do to make this signing a sound investment toward a winning future and not just something tomake Bay Area fans forget about the players who didn’t want to sign with them and the fact that the feds are still after Barry Bonds.
I think it will take another year to see whether Zito, in terms of winning, landed in quicksand or in clover.
Good Luck, Z.
Word out this morning is that Barry Zito is signing with the San Francisco Giants for 7 years and $126 million w/ an option for an 8th year at $18 million. (Eric Byrnes, doing sports radio in San Francisco last week, had said that the Giants made the biggest offer).
That’s Vernon Wells money for a player who appears in 33-35 games a year and is not expect to play all 9 innings. Nice work if you can get it.
But this news on top of Dice-K signing for 6 years, and Kei Igawa and Gil Meche signing for 5, makes us wonder what happened to the resolve of owners to forego lengthy contracts to pitchers. Can you say Russ Ortiz? I know you can!
Of course, when several teams are after one player, it becomes a game of "Can you top this?" And some owner will forget his resolution to not give a pitcher a long contract faster than a guy who resolves on Dec. 31 to lose weight in the New Year, and then finds a piece of chocolate cake in the refrigerator on Jan. 2.
Zito was the cream of this year’s free agent pitching crop, so you know he would get the best contract. Given his preparation and durability, and his youth, he’s the guy to take the chance on with a long term deal. (Knock on wood. We’ve seen too many pitchers over the last couple of seasons catching line drives with something other than their gloves). But the base on which his contract stands–the lengths of the other contracts–makes us wonder if baseball is headed back to the future. Years ago, there was the reserve clause, which bound players to a team for their whole career. Now something like that is starting to emerge again, this time at the instigation of players and their agents, who are now seeking longer and longer deals. The owners may like it also because as years go on contracts get even more inflated so, the number looks mire reasonable as time goes by $18 million for a pitcher now, which seems like a king’s ransom, might be a bargain in five years. Certainly we heard that argument in relation to Manny Ramirez in the annual "Manny wants out of Boston" rumors.
It will take a while for the Giants to build a new team around Zito. They’ve got the young pitching staff; they need to get a closer. They have a left fielder who cannot run like he used to. This same left fielder is the team slugger, and he lost his protection in the lineup. (That is, when his protection was in the lineup). Z might have to wait two or three years to lead the Giants to multiple world championships, his stated goal in picking a team. (We hope he will lobby Mr. Sabean to BRING ERIC HOME).
Meanwhile, we sort of feel bad for Dice-K, about as bad as we can feel for anyone making $ 8 + Million a year, that is. If he does pan out as Boston’s ace, he’ll be making relative peanuts for his best years.
There is a huge caveat to all of this flow of money. These contracts are possible due to the growth and health of baseball. Growth and health that may in 4 or 5 years, show itself unsustainable in the long run. The world energy crisis that goes by the name Peak Oil, together with climate change, the fresh water crisis, the decline in world food reserves, and the increasing toxicity of our environment, may make large institutions extinct. Not that baseball itself, or even professional baseball will disappear. But Barry Zito’s grandchildren may find it hard to believe that Grandpa ever made so much money.
!!!WARNING: WHAT IS BELOW IS PURE SPECULATION!!!
The latest scuttlebutt concerning a trade between the D’Backs and the Yankees for Randy Johnson is that the package of players the Snakes would ship to the Bronx includes a major leaguer. There is logic on both sides for that player to be Eric Byrnes, though if that were to happen, he would never play a game in pinstripes.
The Yankees are interested in Pirates relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez. The Pirates have been asking for Melky Cabrera, but the Yankees have not pulled the trigger on that deal. The Pirates were among the teams seeking to sign Byrnes a year ago. They would likely still be interested given the year Byrnesie had in 2006. If the Yankees can get Byrnes from the D’Backs, they can flip him to Pittsburgh in order to get Gonzalez while keeping Cabrera.
The D’Backs are finding Eric Byrnes to be a bit inconvenient. He wanted a multi-year contract, but according to "The Plan", they don’t have room for him beyond 2007 except as a "veteran presence" coming off the bench. The energy that was part of the reason they got himin the first place would be counterproductive in a bench role if he
overtries to win more playing time.
It looks like he will settle for a one-year deal but it’s going to cost. Eric had a better than expected year, which means that he will likely win an arbitration hearing if proceedings get that far. Byrnes said that if he signed a one-year deal, he’d be trade bait if the D’Backs fell out of contention.
The D’Backs might very well get a head start on the trade-bait business if it will get them Randy Johnson. RJ and Chris Young will be the Snakes "bread and circuses" for D’Backs fans next year. (Getting Johnson does not disabuse us of the notion that the F.O. is looking to 2009). They might figure that the excitement of Johnson’s closing in on 300 wins, and Chris Young, who was compared to Willie Mays after making a great catch against the Giants last season, playing center field, will lessen any fan sense of loss of other 2001 World Championship heroes, and the departure of last year’s homer and stolen base leader.
Moreover, Byrnes is very popular with fans, quickly
overshadowing Chad Tracy, heir apparent to Luis Gonzalez’ mantle as the
face of the Diamondbacks. That wasn’t in "The Plan" either. Gotta fix that before they attain the limelight of serious championship contention.
Steve Gilbert’s article today confirms the report that the Yankees are talking to the D’Backs about Randy Johnson. However, it also states that the two teams are having trouble deciding on whom Arizona will send to the Bronx. It seems the Yanks want some of the Baby Back pitchers.
No. Not for a 44-year-old pitcher returning from back surgery. If they have to be traded, the D’Backs should get someone less expensive and more useful over a longer period in return.
Wanna hear something even more outrageous? This morning, ESPN was speculating on the possibilty of the Yankees getting Conor Jackson. In your dreams, Cashman!
The Arizona F.O. sure has been squirrelly with pitchers this off season. They did not even try to hold on to Miguel Batista, who has since signed a three-year deal with Seattle. Bad.
They made the trade with the Brewers that brought them Doug Davis and Dana Eveland, while letting go of Greg Aquino and Claudio Vargas. Promising, though we don’t like the fact that they also traded Johnny Estrada. In fact, the centerpiece of this deal is Davis for Estrada, who was the best hitter for average on the team. (The team web site accords that honor to Conor Jackson. They must have a standard of 450 ABs. We figure 400 is enough). We really hope Davis delivers this year and Eveland comes around in time. He’s still young.
Arizona made an offer to Mark Mulder, 29, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and won’t be back till about June. Very Bad.
The D’Backs did not pursue Jon Garland during that small window of opportunity between the time the attempt to trade Garland to the Astros fell through and the time the ChiSox traded Brandon McCarthy, at which time Garland came off the market. Awful. Garland was 18-7 and pitched 211 innings last season. And he’s 11 years younger than RJ!
White Sox GM Ken Williams expressed some seller’s remorse over trading Chris Young. DTLFL would have given him Young back in return for Garland and back up first baseman Ross Gload (since traded). Or if necessary, we’d have traded Young straight up for Garland. Then Byrnesie could have stayed in center, Hairston could be given a clear shot at the LF job, and the D’Backs would have had as a No. 2 pitcher the guy who had the most wins in the AL over the last two seasons, and who has pitched 200+ innings 3 straight years.
Now Arizona is talking to the Yankees about RJ! ATROCIOUS!
The Yankees are looking to deal Randy Johnson and are talking to the D’Backs. That would be revenge for 2001, wouldn’t it?
First, the Snakes talk to Mulder, now they are thinking about Johnson. Hey, D’Backs! Taking a chance on an injured pitcher is a luxury for a team with a strong staff…
or a sign of desperation.
And who would you send to New York?
It’s definitely a better one than last year, when Eric Byrnes had just gotten non-tendered by the Baltimore Orioles and I was literally sick about it. As grim as the weather that day. This year, it’s colder than last and it is actually raining as opposed to threatening last year. But Byrnes knows he has a place to play next year, and although he’s going to arbitration with the D’Backs, he has some sort of nice raise coming to him after the fine 2006. So I am in a much better mood.
Here is some other really good news. Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester goes for his last chemotherapy today. So let’s hope that from now on, the things beginning with C that he has to focus on are Curves, Changeups and Contention for Championships.
The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is my heaviest work period at KPFA. I am one of those people who helps keep the news department running while others take holidays and vacations, i.e. as a part-timer with no paid holidays or paid vacations, I pick up as many subbing hours as I can. So I haven’t had time to write as often as I did before. However, I intend to give my opinion on some of the off-season signings. Maybe Zito will have picked a team by the time I do that. I will be a little delayed in giving myself a Solstice present., But that present, results of which I will share with you, will be the time to fully analyze the fine 2006 Eric Byrnes turned in and to write up what I think he needs to do to make 2007 even better.
I also want to write an article about the cost of baseball tickets. I’m going to put my journalistic research skills behind this one, so it probably won’t get done until sometime in March, given everything else I have to do. Whether it ends up here or someplace else won’t be determined for a while yet, but it is something that I want to do and I’d love to have your help. If you have written about ticket prices in your area, please point it out, I might want to quote you. If you haven’t written a piece, but have opinions on the subject, you can leave a comment on this blog or send me an email at kellia[at]rise4news.net. If you do that latter, let me know if you are willing to be quoted by name, (just a first name and city is fine). I generally figure people who email me when they could leave a comment on the blog want to be incognito.
The basic contention of my article is that despite the increase in attendance, the experience of live baseball is being taken away from many fans because tickets are so expensive. Maybe more people can go because they have been able to become season’s ticket holders, but others, the walk-up types, like me, who can’t afford that are being more and more left out. Have you reduced your baseball attendance because of ticket expense? If you go as part of a family, has the family reduced its attendance, or split up games so that part of the family goes some times and the other part of the family goes the other times? Are you a young person whose allowance can’t keep up with rising ticket prices? Do you depend on a program sponsored by a player or by your local team, or a community organization in order to get tickets? Are you an adult who now has to put tickets on a credit card when you used to be able to pay cash? How has the success or lack thereof of your local team impacted ticket prices? Etc, Etc. Let me know what you think.
If you don’t want to give details about your experience, you can at least vote in my poll about money in baseball. Are high player contracts to blame for high ticket prices or would it be possible to pay players market rate and still bring ticket prices down? Do you attend games of other sports that have salary caps? Haven’t those prices gone up, too?
Speaking of money in baseball, the Giants and Barry Bonds are hammering out the details of a one-year, $16 million deal. I’ll give you the results of my Barry Bonds poll as soon as I can find them. They’re around here somewhere…
Dec. 18–Eric Byrnes was at the Golden State Warriors basketball game on Dec. 14th, and decided to celebrate when the Warriors’ Baron Davis hit a last-second 3-pointer. A fan going by the alias mooquack65 caught Byrnesie’s…uh…performance and posted it on You Tube. Byrnesie mentioned it today when he hosted a sports talk show in S.F., so here it is:
All we can say is that we are very glad that Eric Byrnes is an outfielder and not a wide receiver. Can you imagine him celebrating a touchdown catch in the end zone?
But this is part of why we love him. Even when he’s not wearing a bright yellow cap, he’s a bright light in a grim world.
It is good to be Eric Byrnes. And it is good to watch Byrnesie being himself.
I recently bought an external HDD that links to my laptop via a USB port. Since it is brand new (blank, raw, unused), it needs to be partitioned and formatted (including adding a new drive letter). I don’t know how to do this and my search for online instructions has availed me of nothing useful. If you know how to do it, please leave me a comment here, or an email at email@example.com .
The laptop is a PII running Windows 2000 Professional.
Kellia "I really need to start using this thing" Ramares
With the deadline for the Boston Red Sox to sign Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to a contract nearly here, the Blogosphere has been heating up with discussions as to why the deal has not yet been consummated. Although the deadline is officially Thursday at midnight ET, some people are saying that the terms really have to be agreed to by today (Tuesday) so that D-Mat can take a physical tomorrow and the Red Sox can check over the medicals with time for D-Mat to sign on the dotted line before the clock strikes 12 on Thursday night. (Couldn’t all that medical stuff have been done sooner?)
Sox GM Theo Epstein and Club President Larry Lucchino have flown to Southern California to meet with the pitcher and his agent Scott Boras.
It is quite understandable that Japanese teams do not want to lose their stars without compensation. But the situation surrounding D-Mat points out the flaws in the current Japanese posting system, flaws that need to be corrected if more Japanese players are going to try to play in MLB.
DTLFL suggests the following:
1) Japanese players who are interested in being posted should have until the day before the Japanese regular season starts to declare their interest for the following year. For example, Japanese players interested in coming into MLB via the posting system for the 2008 season would have until the day before the 2007 Japanese season starts to declare their interest. Such a declaration would not require them to ask to be posted, or require their teams to post them. It would merely give MLB a heads up as to who is interested, just like MLB knows now who is playing their "contract year" in the bigs.
2) Elias Sports Bureau can then look at the interested players’ stats and determine whether the Japanese players are the equivalent of MLB Type A or Type B free agents. Nippon Professional Baseball and MLB would negotiate compensation fees for Type A equivalents and Type B equivalents. Once a player is rated by Elias, the Japanese team would have a good idea of how much it would get if it posted that player and he signed with MLB.
3) Since it is MLB that is interested in greater internationalization of the game, MLB would pay the Japanese team losing the player, upon the signing of that player to an MLB contract. The money would be drawn from luxury taxes, fines and other revenues MLB could come up with to form a basic pool. This would be supplemented by some sort of yearly assessment from each team that would not count against payroll. The assessments would be progressive rather than flat fee, i.e. big revenue teams would pay more. In the case of an assessment, teams that did not wish to pay the assessment would be barred from negotiating with Japanese players that year. So, for example, if small-market Arizona were not interested in the pool of Japanese players likely to be available for 2008–and they would know who is interested in being posted a year in advance–they could forego paying their assessment and thus stay out of the market and not contribute indirectly to their big-market division rivals, the Dodgers, landing a Japanese player in 2008 (if the Dodgers so desired). The assessments would add a bit of variability to the money pool from year to year, which would reflect variability in MLB teams’ interest in Japanese players from year to year.
4) Posted Japanese players would be treated the same as MLB free agents. They could negotiate with any team(s), for however long.
But back to the current situation. There are some people who would like to cast D-Mat’s agent Scott Boras as some sort of devil for the possibility that the neogtiations might fall through. But we don’t think this is fair. It looks to us, sitting here in rainy Oakland, that the Red Sox want it both ways. They made an outrageously high bid of $51.1 million, a product of the currently flawed posting system, in order to make sure that they won over the Yankees, the Mets and any one else who might have the money to spend on a bid. (The Mets came in second with a bid of $40 million). The BoSox want D-Mat as the guy to succeed Curt Schilling as their ace. They had dealt with Scott Boras before. Theo and Scott have a good working relationship and have even been able to get a deal done to bring JD Drew to Boston, while all this D-Mat stuff has been going on.
But even though the bid does not count against payroll, it is still a significant amount of money, even for a big-revenue team. So we are hearing that Boras wants too much for a player who has never pitched in MLB. Maybe that’s true. But Boston has offered less money to D-Mat than the Royals have given to Gil Meche, who has emerged as this year’s Poster Boy for what free agent contracts look like when teams spend like drunken sailors. In fact, the offer is so low for so long (4-6 years at 7-8 million was the last we heard) for a guy Boston wants, not as a No. 5 pitcher, but as an ace, that we think Boras is correct in not counteroffering. Some comments aren’t worth dignifying with an answer.