Tagged: Eric Byrnes 06.12

Breaking Down the BMC

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

Will the D’Backs Offer Eric Byrnes in a Deal for Randy Johnson?


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.

Happy Solstice! And I’d like your opinions…

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…

Kéllia Ramares

White Boy Can Jump, But He Can’t Dance!

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.


Fair Market Value

A story by Corey Brock that was published on MLB.com says that the Seattle Mariners have signed free agent Jose Guillen to a one-year deal with an option for 2008. Guillen was with the Washington Nationals in 2005 and 2006. The deal is reportedly for $5 million with another $3 million incentives for the 30-year-old outfielder who had elbow reconstruction surgery last July, after playing 69 games and hitting only .216 with 9 HRs and 40 RBI in 241 ABs.

In 2005, Guillen hit .283 with 24 HRs and 76 RBI in 148 games (551 ABs). Last year, Eric Byrnes, also 30, and with no need for elbow reconstruction, hit .267, but with 26 HRs and 79 RBI in 562 ABs over 143 games.

Byrnes is eligible for arbitration this year. Recently, it’s been said that Byrnes, who went 26/25 (with 37 doubles) in 2006, could make between $4.5 and 5 million next year. We think that between the Guillen deal and the Gary Matthews, Jr. 5 years for $50 million deal, that $5 million should be the floor for Byrnesie, not the ceiling. If that’s too rich for the Snakes’ blood, they could trade him to…say, the Giants, who could pay him upwards of $6 million next year and still realize a huge savings over Barry Bonds, or the rumored (and moody) Bonds replacement, Manny Ramirez. And they’d get a guy who plays left field better than either of the other two.