…even though you may not realize it at the time.
Early this month I had planned to go to "Whatever they’re calling it this year" Park in San Francisco to buy tickets to this weekend’s series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants. I didn’t want to pay the service fees for ordering online, and I figured that I should practice how to get to the stadium anyway; I’ve never been there. But it was rainy, windy and cold, and so I put it off. It turned out to be just as well that I didn’t buy the tickets.
A couple of weeks later, a change in my work schedule made me the weekend news tech at KPFA. I might have been able to find a sub for the weekend, but it’s better than I didn’t. I need the money. Weekend work still would have left Friday available, but, the uncertainties surrounding whether or not Byrnes will play that game have taken all the potential fun out of the day for me.
At the beginning of this month, and thus, this baseball season, I had looked forward to Friday, April 28th. It was supposed to mark the return of Eric Byrnes to the Bay Area, this time as the regular center fielder of the Diamondbacks. I had my Diamondbacks road cap and my Byrnes-22 T-shirt and I was even considering taking a "Welcome Home, Byrnesie" sign. (He grew up just south of San Francisco, and rooted for the Giants as a kid).
But now, the D’Backs 4th outfielder, Jeff DaVanon, has started more games than Byrnesie and I have no idea if Byrnes will start Friday. The switch-hitting DaVanon was supposed to give Byrnesie some days off against "tough righties," and probable Giants starter Jason Schmidt is one tough righty, especially against the D’Backs. (He’s 9-0 against them). On the other hand, Jake Peavy is one tough righty who had a very good record against the D’Backs, but they started Byrnes instead of DaVanon. Against Peavy, a pitcher with whom he was unfamiliar, Byrnes hit like a guy who had had one AB in three days, which was exactly the case. DaVanon hasn’t just spelled Byrnesie against "tough righties," he’s has been playing against any right-hander. It looks as if Byrnes’ reputation of having difficulty hitting right-handers for average has followed him to the National League, which is ridiculous. The pitching is different in the NL and Byrnes’ first 5 hits this year came against righties.
The fact that Eric Byrnes emerged from Spring Training the everyday centerfielder in name only has made me glad that I decided not to take a trip to San Francisco in foul weather to buy tickets. I grew up a Mets fan, and I have lived in Oakland for a quarter century, so I never really warmed up to the Giants. I am not into the Bonds homer hoopla, and rooting for the D’Backs has become hard because I think they’ve shafted Eric Byrnes. So I might as well stay home and listen to the game, while doing other things I need to to.
If Eric plays, I hope he does well. I’ll have The Eric Byrnes Pitch Count Report on hand to fill out (in pencil). Whether he does well, poorly, something in between, or rides the pine, I’m still rooting for him to get the chance to show what he really can do, if only he can be with a team that really believes in him and knows what to do with him. I had hoped the D’Backs would be that team. I doubt that now, because I think there is more going on here than Jeff DaVanon getting off to a very hot start. More on that later.