Last week the Phillies new winter re-acquisition, Marlon Byrd, honored Allen Iverson’s jersey retirement by wearing The Answer’s name on his #3 uniform. Yesterday, at Bright House in Clearwater, Derek Jeter doubled for the Yankees mid game. Standing on second base, when a teammate lifted a routine fly to center with two out, Jeter tore around third base heading for home. My buddy, Steve Cooper, elbowed me and said: “That’s why Jeter is Jeter. He runs everything out. Doesn’t know how to play the game otherwise, even though he’s retiring this year”.
In this afternoon’s game vs. Orioles in Sarasota, Marlon Byrd is at the plate with the Phillies trailing 6-1. Ryan Howard had knocked in the first run with an opposite field double. Byrd lifted a fly ball to CF and with the wind swirling the O’s center fielder came hustling in but bobbled the ball and dropped it as Howard crossed the plate. Where did Byrd wind up on the play? Barely making it to first base, having given up on the lazy fly ball as being the third out of the inning. The anti-Jeter, you might say.
If I’m manager Ryne Sandberg, I pull Byrd right out of the game, sit him on the bench, and send a message to a team that needs to take advantage of every break it can just to avoid losing 100 games this year. Dogging it into first isn’t The Answer.