Goodbye, Eric Byrnes

After having a little time to step back from things…

The general consensus seems to be that letting Eric Byrnes go was something that needed to happen. I’m not going to disagree with this, it’s just that in general, he’s not the one I might have chosen. People seem to be pointing to this as the move that sealed his fate:

But the fact that he botched the bunt that caused Ichiro to get thrown out at home and deprive us of a run is a lot less embarrassing (for me, anyway) than the fact that we continue to send out certain bench players as our “saviors”. I know I won’t be making any friends here any time soon by mentioning this in this context, but when I overhear people around me acknowledges that they’re simply cheering for Ken Griffey Jr because he’s Ken Griffey Jr and not because he can accomplish what he’s been sent to the plate to do, then there is a problem. It just feels sometimes like the Seattle fanbase is cheering for what used to be, not what can be, and it’s aggravating, especially when what can be is something wonderful and mind-blowing. I often wonder, when Griffey is called to the plate in what would normally be a clutch situation, if the people around me are fans of baseball, or fans of nostalgia. I have to take the latter, because everyone seems so shocked when he grounds out to right field.

I like both Griffey and Mike Sweeney for what they represent, and they both seem like great people. But I don’t think I can ride this train much longer if some changes are not made. I’m not completely disillusioned, not yet – we still have a chance to make something happen, if we handle this correctly. Friends of mine who shall remain nameless and who have actually had the pleasure of seeing Griff in his prime are using words and phrases like “done” and “his swing is gone” to describe one of the greatest players in the history of the Mariners organization, and it just kills me to know that it might be true. Ken Griffey Jr has been reduced to a bobblehead for me. It’s frustrating.

Man, this was a downer, wasn’t it? Positive (and yet still negative); I’m going to miss watching Eric Byrnes play. I was able to catch a little bit of interview with him on the radio before the game on Friday, and he sounded pretty much like I thought he would. I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – he was a neat character, he’s a gamer defensively, and I will miss him.

On the bright side, there is a little Rainiers baseball on FSN tonight at 7 – they’re down in Portland playing the Beavers at PGE Park. I’m not sure how excited anyone might be over that, but hey, it’s baseball being shown on an off-day, so that’s something.

EDIT: No more writing before coffee. Sheesh! I neglected to mention that if nothing else, I’m happy that Ryan Langerhans and Josh Wilson are coming back. I know Wilson doesn’t have many fans up here, but for what it’s worth, I’m one of them. Langerhans seems to have been doing well in Triple A, and is secure defensively, so I am pleased with this specific move. Hopefully it gives us a little kick in the pants going into this series with the Tampa Bay Rays this week. So goodbye Brynesie, but yay Langerhans, yay other J Wilson.

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8 Responses to Goodbye, Eric Byrnes

  1. Craig-MarinersManiac says:

    Josh Wilson — Good Move…..So when they pinch hit Jack Wilson…and when we dont score….I dont have to have to cringe at every hit ball towards shortstop. (Tui is a good guy….but asking to handle SS is just to much without experience)

    Both extra innings losses….there were hits to the leftside or up the center that Jack Wilson would have turned into outs and prevent the losses.
    Josh Wilson also has enough Range to get them as well….
    Tui didnt (not knocking Tui…Tui is a 3B 2B 1B player……SS he should only play in an emergency…not as “planned”)

    Hope Junior starts hitting (even if just like last year)….or has enough common sense to goto Wak and ask to reduce his role to 1 day a week and PH vs RHP.

    • section331 says:

      I thought putting Tui at short was really weird, too. I saw him there last year in Tacoma, and he just looked awkward and uncomfortable. He’s a far better second baseman, IMO. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Langerhans can do up here.

  2. Kirsten says:

    I guess I never really figured out what was wrong about the bunt, but I will bow to more knowledgeable brains. I am new to being a baseball nut, and sometimes still have trouble with some of the little things.

    However, I find that this team is frustrating me. I really felt during the winter with all the new acquisitions we were going to do really well. What has happened?

    I do agree that Griffey/Sweeney are mainly there for the morale factor. But why does it seem when we get a trade they seem to lose out in their performance?

    • section331 says:

      I think his BA had more to do with him being let go than the bunt, and his wreckless defense. Obviously, we have no way of knowing if the bunt was called by Wak, or if it was something that Byrnes decided to do on his own. Wak said last year that the bunting was something he let the players do themselves, but has not mentioned if things are the same way this year. A lot of people are angry at the bunt right now because it cost us the winning run for that game, but there is a lot more to be upset about than just that.
      I’m not sure if it’s what a lot of people are saying – that the players aren’t being used effectively – or if it’s that we don’t have much power in our lineup, or what the deal is, but I’d like to see more of the small ball/aggressive baserunning that was done in the first game against the A’s at the beginning of April. We kept Oakland on their toes, and I thought it was brilliant. But since then, it seems that the bullpen has been mismanaged, the DH position has failed us, and offensively we just suck, for lack of a more creative term.
      I don’t know if the players are just believing their own hype or what, but we need to settle down and play ball, for sure.

    • spankystout says:

      The bunt was appaling because Ichiro was on his way home. Byrnes is supposed to do ANYTHING to bunt, or foul that ball. If he doesn’t succeed…….well its depressing.

      Don’t worry Baseball has a million rules that apply differently in different scenarios. It takes everyone, including the pros, years to learn everything.

  3. Moira says:

    Nicely stated. Griffey’s at-bats make me sad when I’m watching tv, but they honestly made me tear up when I was at the actual game. It breaks my heart to see and hear everyone around me- people that up to this point seemed like rational, relatively realistic fans- say things like “he’s gonna hit it out of the park!” and “this is it, right to the hit it here sign!” and then be so disappointed.

    Such a depressing series. As for Byrnes, he was once really nice to my mom, who is a big Diamondback fan and loves him. I’ll always think fondly of him for that.

    • section331 says:

      It kills me to see – I watched the last bit of Rick White’s career fizzle out in 2006 or ’07 (was a while ago now), and though I know there was never a lot of love for him here, it was still sad, and though I didn’t know much about the game, I knew that was it for him. Griffey means so much to so many, seeing him the way he is now….it’s just awful.

      Byrnes will land on his feet somewhere – though that sounds odd, when you think about how he plays the game. haha!

  4. Bart's Evil Twin says:

    God help me, but I will miss Eric Byrnes! 😦

    Not sure why, I just like him. Had to be done though.

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