The Mariners release Eric Byrnes

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Eric Byrnes 2.jpgThe Seattle Mariners released outfielder Eric Byrnes after yesterday’s game against the Rangers. Partially due to ineffectiveness, partially due to plain old weirdness.

The ineffectiveness: Byrnes was three for 32 on the season.

The weirdness: the play on Friday night in which he pulled his bat back on a suicide squeeze, causing Ichiro to get nailed at the plate in the Mariners’ 2-0 loss. He bolted the clubhouse on his bicycle mere minutes after that game, avoiding the media and his general manager, Jack Zduriencik. Also the fact that he didn’t take the bat off his shoulder for three straight pitches with the bases loaded in the
fourth inning yesterday. He’s basically been like Richie Tenenbaum at the U.S. Nationals out there.

I have to guess that the weirdness is why he was released. I mean really, the Mariners are putting up with near-zero in terms of contributions from Ken Griffey and Mike Sweeney, so it’s not like they have an official requirement that their DHs and backup outfielders actually be able to hit or anything. 

But if you’re gonna be useless at the plate, you had better be a good citizen and at least look like you’re trying out there.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.

 

David Ross to compete on “Dancing with the Stars”

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Do you miss David Ross? I miss David Ross. The season hasn’t even started yet and I miss David Ross. There’s something comforting about having a likable graybeard catcher in the game with bonus points for being bald. His loss will be felt.

But while we won’t have David Ross in baseball all this year — at least on the field; he’s a special assistant with the Cubs — we’ll still have David Ross someplace:

Johnny Damon did “Celebrity Apprentice” — Trump fired him, sadly — but we’ve never had a ballplayer on “Dancing With The Stars.” There have been several football players and some Olympians, but no baseball guys. Which makes some amount of sense as, outside of the middle infielders and first basemen, footwork isn’t necessarily the most important tool.

Catchers are particularly plodding for athletes, so good luck, David. Unless you have some moves you haven’t flashed in the past, you’ll probably need it.