Byrnes Is History in AZ!
Here’s why I can say that so categorically: the Arizona Diamondbacks announced their promotional schedule several days ago. The team is giving away something at all its Saturday and Sunday games this year. On the schedule are 6 bobblehead days, including giveaways honoring rookie Carlos Quentin and broadcaster Mark Grace. There is a kids replica jersey T-shirt giveaway day for rookie Chris Young. There is a Baxter kids replica jersey T-shirt giveaway day. Baxter is the team’s mascot. Rookie Stephen Drew rates two giveaways: a figurine (not to be confused with a bobblehead), and a growth chart. Sophomore Conor Jackson also rates two giveaways: a bobblehead and a figurine.
Byrnes may appear on the trading cards they are planning to give away on July 14, if he’s still there. But there is no separate mention of him on the Diamondbacks press release announcing the promotional schedule.
Promotions honoring three rookies, a broadcaster, and a mascot, but nothing for a fan favorite, who led the team in home runs and stolen bases last year–what does that say to you? I know what it says to me. It says that the front office has known all along that they would trade Byrnes during this season. And they’ve known it since at least the day they had to put in the orders for the items that they will give away this season.
This is a repeat of what I saw in Oakland in 2005. In September 2004, I bought the last Byrnes/22 T-shirt from the store at the Coliseum. In June of 2005, when I went to a game, I did not see any Byrnes shirts being sold in any of the sales booths around the stadium. Byrnes was gone six weeks later, and despite the claim of the A’s front office that they were not trying to trade him, trade rumors were rampant during the off-season after 2004, and everybody knew early in the year that they were trying to get rid of him.
The Diamondbacks need to assure themselves of Scott Hairston’s readiness to handle left field, and perhaps to a lesser extent, of Jeff DaVanon’s full rehab from last year’s surgeries. A good spring training by Hairston and a good medical report on DaVanon, and then it’s just a matter of time. For all we know, other teams have inquired about Byrnes already.
Let’s hope those other teams are teams who would want him as an everyday player and who have a good chance to win. Then next year, after Barry Bonds retires, Eric can sign on with his hometown team.