Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Bay Area (in California, not Pittsburgh)

I liked this article that was posted to USSM about Omar Vizquel and his painting hobby.

Now, for things I don't like.

The rumor that Chad Bradford would be traded to Boston is no longer a rumor. The funny part is that Kevin Youkilis, the Greek God of OBP, had to be sent to the minors to make room for Bradford and the re-activation of Schilling -- and Oakland gets Jay Payton -- but for those of us who read and loved Moneyball, we remember a chapter where Billy Beane really wanted to get Youkilis on his team, which makes me wonder, why didn't he try to get him in this deal? Or did he, and the Sox wouldn't give him up? (But then sent him down anyway?)

And having acquired another outfielder, Billy Beane traded Eric Byrnes to Colorado. This makes me even sadder. Despite hating the A's in general, I actually genuinely liked Eric Byrnes. He was a funny guy to watch in the field, always running around (does that guy EVER stand still?), hustling and smiling, and was a pretty dependable outfielder even if not a superstar. But even more importantly, Eric Byrnes actually genuinely seems to like baseball fans. In a time where most baseball players seem to be sick of dealing with fans, Byrnes connects with the fans more than ever. I admit I've only gone up before maybe three or four Oakland games here trying to see batting practice and maybe get things signed, but there has never been a time where Eric Byrnes didn't come out to the stands and say hi and sign things for people and talk to the fans.

He's a California boy at heart, having grown up in the Bay Area and gone to UCLA, was drafted by the A's out of college, and has only played there. I feel pretty bad for the guy, really... he was one of those players that could have become a franchise player in an era where franchise players don't exist anymore.

Oakland already has enough trouble getting people to go to the games -- why get rid of an unmistakeable fan favorite who's not hurting the team and is still in his prime? I mean, I know Boone was a fan favorite here, but the guy's 36 years old and is in obvious decline. The same is not true for Byrnes, who still hits for average, plays the field well, and runs pretty damn fast, and the only way I'll be happy about this is if Hiram Bocachica ends up being called up once his hand heals.

Good luck in Colorado, Eric. This Mariners fan, at least, salutes you.

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