Marlon Byrd pays tribute to Allen Iverson with spring training jersey


Marlon Byrd will wear jersey No. 3 with the Philadelphia Phillies this year. No player for the Philadelphia 76ers will be allowed to wear that number after Saturday, as it is being retired to honor Allen Iverson. Byrd decided to pay tribute to Iverson from spring training on Saturday.

That’s a pretty cool gesture from Byrd, who began his MLB career with the Phillies when Iverson was in his prime. At that time, Iverson was the biggest thing in Philly. That probably made an impression on the 36-year-old veteran outfielder.

H/T Eye on Basketball
Photo: Twitter/Todd Zolecki

New York Mets trade Marlon Byrd on Marlon Byrd T-shirt night


The New York Mets traded Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, but all the stars are aligned for the team to give the outfielder a perfect send-off if they so choose. On Tuesday night at Citi Field, the Mets were planning to hold their “Let it Fly” promotion, which involved giving away Marlon Byrd-themed T-shirts.

Byrd has been one of the lone bright spots for the 58-71 Mets this season. He is hitting .285 with 21 homers and 71 RBI and is having one of the best seasons of his career at age 35. The Mets received prospects in exchange for Byrd and the Pirates got a right-handed bat that could be of use down the stretch, so the deal made sense for both sides.

But back to the shirts. What do the Mets do now? People usually love free stuff no matter what it says on it, but the team might be better off shipping the shirts to a third-world country at this point. No need to add insult to injury.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games for PED use; Victor Conte denies involvement

Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by MLB on Monday for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, which reportedly is used by steroid users to kick-start testosterone production after a cycle. The product, which is commonly used to treat breast cancer patients, reportedly reduces side effects of steroid use.

Byrd, who is a free agent after being released by the Red Sox earlier this month, claims he wasn’t taking the substance to gain an advantage.

“Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons.”

Byrd’s positive test is notable for several reasons. The outfielder became an All-Star in 2010 with the Cubs and credited his work with Victor Conte for his success. Conte is the man who ran BALCO lab which infamously served PED users like Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

Conte continues to work with athletes but says he does so cleanly. He denied involvement with Byrd’s positive test.

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Marlon Byrd: Focus of Jackie Robinson Day shouldn’t be on lack of black players

Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball is mostly a day of celebration. All players wear jersey No. 42 in honor of the first player to break MLB’s color barrier. Some guys do even more as a tribute. But inevitably, one issue that comes up each year is the declining number of African-American players in the game.

Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who comprises part of the 8% of black players in MLB, is sick of the negative focus.

“If you want to take polls, then take polls asking how many black lawyers do we have now, or how many black judges or black doctors there are now,” Byrd said Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Just because we’re black doesn’t mean we have to play sports. You can go through other avenues. If the decrease (in baseball) is because they’re going into academic fields, so be it. More power to them.”

Byrd may have been partially bothered by a recent newspaper article that focused on the lack of black players on the two Chicago baseball teams that used the headline “Black Hole,” but he makes a fair point. Should the day be about celebrating Robinson and what he did, or focusing on the decline of African-Americans in the game? What about celebrating the way the game has gone global to include the best players around the world?

Byrd told USA Today he hopes there will be more black players in the next 5-6 years. MLB is confident the situation will improve thanks to their efforts with urban academies and the annual Civil Rights Game.

Regarding Byrd’s point that he hopes the decline is because more black males are going into academic rather than athletic fields, I think the issue may be that many talented black athletes choose sports other than baseball. MLB instituting new draft policies that cap the amount of money teams can spend on draft picks isn’t helping baseball’s efforts to sway players away from other sports.

Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Joey Votto Misses Point of All-Star Game

Here at LBS, we were pretty impressed with Marlon Byrd‘s heads-up play that helped the National League win its first MLB All-Star Game in 14 tries. In theory, the play was beneficial for every NL player in that it helped lock up home field advantage for their league in the World Series. Everyone was thankful Byrd made the play, right? Nope.

Joey Votto refused to congratulate Byrd because he dislikes him and his division rival — if you can even call them that — the Chicago Cubs. Talk about classless. Here’s proof that Joey Votto doesn’t like Marlon Byrd, courtesy of Big League Stew via ESPN Chicago:

I don’t like the Cubs,” Votto said. “And I’m not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. But because he made that really cool play, it turned out to be a really cool experience. I’m really glad we got the win today.”

We get it, Joey. You’re “Mr. Cincinnati Red.” You’re the most dedicated player on either All-Star roster. Yankees and Red Sox can get along for an evening and share a few laughs, but you aren’t going to put on any type of act. Maybe fans should have left him off of their final vote ballots because he obviously missed the point of what it means to be selected as an All-Star. Here’s hoping no one forces you to attend to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, Captain No Fun.

Reds’ Votto dislikes Cubs, disses All-Star teammate Byrd [Big League Stew]
Byrd helps NL with bat, glove [ESPN Chicago]

Marlon Byrd Helps NL Get Over Hump

The National League defeated the American League Tuesday night to win the 2010 MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim. Amazingly, it was the first time the NL won in over 13 years.  Aside from Brian McCann’s bases clearing double in the seventh that put the NL on top for good, the play of the night came on defense. With one out and a lead-footed David Ortiz running at first, Marlon Byrd chose to let a bloop hit fall in front of him rather than risk diving and allowing the ball to get by. He then quickly fielded it and made an accurate, spinning throw to force Big Papi out at second. Check out the video of Marlon Byrd throwing out David Ortiz in the 9th inning of the All-Star Game, courtesy of YouTube user crZY383:

Just a phenomenal, heads-up play by Byrd. What’s really impressive about it is that he didn’t get lucky. He knew Ortiz was running and he knew he’d have a chance to make the play if he let the ball drop. On a night where we were subjected to ridiculous songs about Vladimir Guerrero, it was great to see a few Web Gems from the guys we expect to make them.

Video Credit: YouTube user crZY383