On The Dog Ate Daron’s Homework, the blog of new Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Daron Sutton, there are two articles, each of which feature snippets of Daron’s interviews with Eric Byrnes and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe.
You’ll also be treated to some fine photographs, including one of Eric in his Licey Tigres uniform, back in the pre-long-hair days. (Young, sweet, innocent. Just another All-American boy with big dreams).
Why these two in particular? Read the articles and find out!
Daron is definitely getting his Diamondbacks career off on the right foot, as far as DTLFL is concerned. He’s shown he knows who the great interview on the team is. ;+)
An item in today’s San Jose Mercury News has me a little concerned.
• Eric Byrnes is coming off a career year with the Diamondbacks and, at 31, figures to have plenty of baseball left in him. But since [recently retired football player Tiki] Barber is also 31, we’re reminded that it’s never too early to think about the next step.
Byrnes, who came from St. Francis High and started his major league career with the A’s, will have a once-a-month pregame spot on Fox’s Game of the Week and make regular appearances on FSN’s “Best **** Sports Show Period” for a segment called “Byrnes, Baby, Byrnes.” He’s also assigned to be an All-Star Game reporter (guess he doesn’t give much for his chances of being selected for the game).
I know you’ve appeared regularly on a station in Sacramento since your days with the River Cats. You’ve done a number of guest co-host gigs on KNBR in San Francisco, and this off-season you "graduated" to sitting in for Gary Radnich, one of the Bay Area’s sportscasting "stars", solo for three hours, and you’re hella better at talking sports than he is, even if I do take exception to your always referring to women as "chicks."
I know you’ve guest-hosted "Best ****" before. It was mentioned in the SI.com column about you and this blog back in May ’06, and back then it was said that offers were pouring in.
I know you had a successful off-season as a broadcaster. Ed Goren, president of Fox Sports, must love you to pieces. He figures that folks who might not normally watch sports analysis/talk shows will hear that you’re going to be on and will tune in to see what you’re wearing and how your hair looks, and stay for your funny and insightful commentary. All well and good when your team is out of the post-season.
But this is different. This is going to be national TV throughout the season. Are your teammates going to relate to you as before when they know you’re going to be on the tube periodically throughout year? Are you "one of the guys" or "one of them"? Already we heard, as Barry Zito closed in on a decision on where to sign, that he didn’t want to talk to you because you were part of the media. And he’s a good friend of yours!
No doubt you have the Diamondbacks’ permission to do this, but what is Bob Melvin really going to make of it? Is he going to question your commitment to baseball, perhaps silently, subtly? You know how he likes to play percentages. If it’s a choice between you or, say, Scott Hairston, against a particular pitcher and it’s a close call, will he start Hairston because Scott seems hungrier than you?
What’s most disturbing to me is the part about the All-Star Game. Granted, you have only a slim chance of making it. But last season’s 26/25 combined with a stellar first half of ’07 and the fact that the game is being played in your home region make it a distinct possibility, especially since you never know who is going to get injured right around that time. Or at least it was a distinct possibility until this morning. In taking this assignment, you are announcing before spring training gets underway, that you don’t expect to be considered for a game that won’t be played until the second week of July. You are giving up instead of shooting for it. You are saying that Tony LaRussa should just forget about you even before he starts to think about how he should fill-out the balance of the team not voted by the fans. That’s not the Byrnesie I’ve been rooting for. It makes me wonder what else you’re giving up on.
Yeah, the Mercury News is right; it’s never too early to start thinking about the next step. But there is a difference between thinking about it and being so invested in it that you trip on the current step and land flat on your face.
Be careful, Byrnesie. This is the most critical year of your baseball career. The 26/25 and 79 RBI season of last year can be the foundation for a 32/35 and 100 RBI season, or you can sink back into a mediocre 15/15 and 60 RBI season. The first type of year will give you the chance to test the free agent market from a position of strength, and get the lucrative, multi-year contract you want, with a team (preferably the Giants), who will want you as DA MAN in center or left. It will also enhance your cachet as a broadcaster. The second type of year will brand you a journeyman who had a couple of decent years, but who is now on the wrong side of 30, and at 4.5+ million, rather expensive. And on the tube? Bring on Vernon Wells; he’s a star!
Be careful, too, Byrnesie, of not frittering away precious time. Because while you can be a broadcaster when you’re old enough to collect Social Security, (assuming we still have such a thing by that time), a baseball career is relatively short. Although, as the newspaper said, you still figure to have plenty of baseball left in you, it is also true that you are a full-fledged veteran. Mother Nature will make you half a step slower before you know it. Your stolen base/attempts ratio will decline. Balls you used to catch on a dive will skitter off your glove or hit the ground an inch in front of it. Someday the time will come to hang ’em up. And when that time comes you, and folks like me, will want to know that you were the best baseball player you could be. Becoming distracted during the season will detract from that. You’ve laid the groundwork for the next career and that’s good. But don’t make the transition too muddy or too early.
I know baseball players have other things in their lives besides baseball. One of the reasons people thought Zito would end up with the Mets was that with his interests in photography and music, he could be part of the arts scene there. Bernie WIlliams has played guitar in Carnegie Hall. Miguel Batista has written a novel. Lots of players, Luis Gonzalez is one with whom you are familiar, are active in the community. But this somehow seems different. You can choose when to schedule a concert, and when to rehearse for it. You can choose when to research a novel and when to write it. You can choose which community events you will attend and you don’t have to be there three hours in advance to prepare. But you have to hew much more to someone else’s deadlines in broadcasting. Make sure they’re not demanding too of your time during the season. I’d still rather see you on the field with a bat in your hand than a microphone.
It was a better off-season for you as a broadcaster than as a baseball player. On Oct. 23, you did an interview with Ralph Barbieri and Dave Fleming of KNBR, and Ralph said, "…I agree with Bruce Jenkins and I agree with Dave. We both think you have a brilliant future as a broadcaster. In fact, I don’t think there’s any denying it." (I still have the interview on my .mp3 player). And offers have been coming in backing up the fact that other people feel the same way. On the baseball side, the GM of the Diamondbacks told the AP when you signed your contract that "Eric played great for us in 2006. He’s a rare player who can impact the game in a lot of ways — with his power, with his baserunning, with his defense and certainly every day with his energy." But you had to settle for less money than you wanted, even though you weren’t asking for an outrageous sum, and more importantly, despite your desire to stay in AZ, they were totally reluctant to give you a multi-year deal. You wisely declined the year and a club option for a second year that they offered. They are clearly more interested in the rookies. And you don’t need to be anybody’s "just in case" anymore.
After what happened with the A’s after the good season of 2004, you must be wondering what you have to do to stick with a club as an everyday player. It hurts. (Though the size of the raise you just got, no doubt, cushions the blow). So you are looking to where people believe in you more. That’s only human.
But don’t forget: you are still a good major league baseball player. You can still get better. (I’ll get into that on your birthday). Don’t stop believing you can find your true baseball home. Another good year and you’ll have your pick. So stay focused.
"Visualizing 150+ STARTS",
I’d most prefer in the World Series TV booth…
No. of voters:
Thom Brennaman 0
Joe Buck 8
Eric Byrnes 19
Luis Gonzalez 3
Tim McCarver 2
Jon Miller 5
Joe Morgan 3
Jose Mota 0
Lou Piniella 2
Suzyn Waldman 1
None of the Above 2
Apologies to fans of Joe Girardi. We didn’t know that Fox was going to give him a TV tryout until after we started the poll.
And on that note, DTLFL is taking a little offseason of its own. But we are leaving you a Barry Bonds poll, since he is no doubt the biggest name in this year’s Hot Stove League.
The Byrnes Media Circus (his name, not mine) continues during the World Series on Fox. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, "Fox has added former Marlins manager Joe Girardi and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes to the pregame show for the World Series. Byrnes will provide on-site analysis from Detroit for Games 1, 2 and if necessary 6 and 7. Girardi will be in the National League city for Games 3, 4 and if necessary 5."
All the more reason to hope this World Series goes 7 games.
But please don’t pepper me with questions about what I think about Byrnesie’s hair, analysis or anything else, as my work schedule is going to force me to miss all of the pregame shows and even the games themselves unless there is a game on Friday, October 27. (I can follow the Gameday Screen intermittently at work and listen to ESPN radio on the way home). I am one of those folks for whom making a living gets in the way of living. And I don’t even make enough to afford a TiVO for times like this.
But the lucky ducks among you can enjoy the Series, and, of course, the BMC!
Kéllia "wishing Byrnesie were playing rather than analyzing the Series" Ramares
But no, we are not asking about the team you think will go all the way. DTLFL wants to know who you’d most prefer seeing in the TV broadcast booth for the Fall Classic. Whether any of these people are actually available is irrelevant. We’d just like to know your preference. Please Vote!
The poll on Byrnesie’s ESPN Hair Fashion Statement drew 54 votes, by far the most on any DTLFL poll. This lends credence to the idea that the sillier the choices, the more people will vote on something. Here are the results:
I just washed my hair and I can’t do a thing with it.
Rather than put my hair gel in checked baggage, I put it all on my head.
I toweled off out of the shower, put on my suit and forgot to do my hair:
I napped in the Green Room until 30 secs before air.
Just because I’m in a suit, doesn’t mean I’m tame.
One word: Roadkill!
Let’s Go Mets!
Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who has been broadcasting Dodgers’ games for 57 years, the longest tenure of any broadcaster with one team, is one of the greats of sportcasting. In fact, some would say The Greatest, since he was given the Sportscaster of the Century Award. He has won Emmies and is in both the Radio Hall of Fame and the Broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Ironically, he doesn’t get to vote for players to the Baseball Hall of Fame, even though he is considered one of the most baseball-knowledgable members of the media, because he is a broadcaster and not a writer).
But sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. That occurred to me last night as Scully broadcast the entire Dodgers-Diamondbacks game alone.
It wasn’t that Scully did anything wrong. It’s just that one voice, for over two hours, especially in a cyclical type of program like baseball, gets dull. I know that people come into the game at different times and so some information, such as the score, needs to be repeated. But, for example, how often do people need to hear that Eric Byrnes is 6’2" 210 lbs and went to UCLA?
I sometimes dislike the "banter" of a play-by-play and color duo, especially when a game gets lopsided. Not that long ago, Thom Brenneman and Mark Grace of the Diamondbacks went into long discourses about their picks for the opening games of the college football season. The White Sox Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson and Darren Jackson are two huge "homers," especially Harrelson. I don’t mind a little homerism, but Harrelson is a bit much.
But when you have two announcers and they can generally keep the topic to baseball without going overboard for the home team, the announcing can be more interesting. The variation of voices over time and the conversation between two people can be interesting, especially if one of them is a former player who can explain strategies and how the players might be feeling or thinking in certain situations.
Last night, we heard the same voice for 9 innings. Since Scully had no one to talk to, he generally had no choice to fill in the time but to repeat the various facts he (or his producer) had researched about the players, such as their height and weight, birthplaces, and colleges. The one saving grace of last night was that Padres’ pitcher Chris Young was attempting to go for a no-hitter and Scully kept us abreast of the attempt. Had this bit of baseball news not been available, how many more times would viewers have been subjected to Scully’s canned "show prep"?
There is a difference between a good broadcaster and good broadcasting. Last night demonstrated it.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Peter Gammons is back with ESPN three months after surgery for a brain aneurysm. The ESPN baseball analyst was at Fenway Park two days ago. ESPN says he is not back full time, but will be scheduled depending on how he feels.
The 61-year-old Gammons was reported to be sounding like his old self in filing reports for Sports Center and Baseball Tonight.