Monthly Archives: April 2014

San Rafael Pacifics Press Release


Byrnes to Play LF on August 5th and 6th as Fundraiser for Pat Tillman Foundation
April 30, 2014 – San Rafael, CA
Former Oakland A’s outfielder and 11 year major league veteran, Eric Byrnes, agreed to a historic 2-day contract to play for the San Rafael Pacifics on August 5th and 6th.
“This is a thrill for me to go back to the roots of baseball,” said Byrnes.  “The Pacifics and all of Indy ball are what it’s all about – a close connection with the fans and with the community.  The guys I’m playing with are not in it for the money or fame; they do this because they love the game.  I’m proud to be a small part of it.”
The 38-year old Byrnes, well-known in the Bay Area for his time with the Athletics, also played for the Rockies, Orioles, Diamondbacks and Mariners. His major career accomplishments include a 22 game hitting streak, hitting for the cycle against the Giants,  winning the “Fielding Bible” as MLB’s best left fielder and becoming the 11th player in the history of baseball to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases in the same season .  Since retiring in 2010, Byrnes has turned to broadcasting where he is an analyst for MLB Network, Pac 12 Network and an occasional host on KNBR 680.
The Peninsula native was drafted by the A’s in the 8th round of the 1998 draft after a very successful collegiate career at UCLA (.331 career BA), where he is enshrined in the UCLA Hall of Fame.
In retirement, Byrnes has immersed himself in surfing, golfing, slow pitch softball and competing in triathlons and ultra marathons.  He has completed 5 Ironman triathlon’s which consist of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run.
Byrnes’ stint with the Pacifics is first and foremost a fundraising effort for the Pat Tillman Foundation.  Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals starting safety, put his all-star career on hold to join the Army after the 9/11 attacks.  He was killed in action in 2004.  After his death the Pat Tillman Foundation was created to support veterans and spouses through educational scholarships and a social network.
The Pacifics are donating a portion of the ticket sales for both of Byrnes’ appearances to the Pat Tillman Foundation, and Byrnes has agreed to donate his Pacifics salary, as well as personally donate $1,000 for every walk, stolen base and single he hits; $2,000 for a double; $3,000 for a triple and $10,000 for a homerun.  He will also donate $500 for every ball he catches.
“Let’s make it $100,000 for a grand slam, just in case:)” said Byrnes in an email to Pacifics Media relations Manager, Vincent Espinosa.


Let Americans throw!

With the recent announcement that San Diego Padres right hander Josh Johnson is going to have Tommy John (elbow ligament replacement) surgery,  I couldn’t help but think that there has not only been a crazy influx of TJ surgeries the past few years but for the most part those surgeries always seems to involve an overwhelming large percentage American players.  I called upon MLB Network’s head researcher Elliot Kalb to confirm my beliefs and the results were even more staggering than I had originally thought…

Since 1977 there have been 372 documented TJ surgeries in MLB… 345 (93%) have been performed on American players while 27 (7%) have involved international players… Since 2010 there has been 124 TJ surgeries and an astonishing 83 in the last 2 years!

How do the numbers stack up proportion wise based on the MLB player constituency?  Not even close.  It fluctuates daily but over the past few years when the vast majority of TJ surgeries have occurred, MLB has been comprised of roughly 60% American players and 40% International…

So why are Americans at a much greater risk?  I can only speculate but in large part American players have followed structured throwing programs and strict pitch counts since little league.  This brings into question that maybe Americans are coddled way too much and throw way too little.  Through my experience playing parts of 11 seasons of major league baseball and 5 winters in the Dominican Republic,  it is my belief that International players just throw more.  Many always have and still do play year round in their country which allows them to strengthen their arm while building a much higher throwing endurance base.  In turn this typically results in a much greater propensity to stay healthy. Just ask the TJ numbers…

Let Americans throw! EB

PS… I am not a scientist or a doctor but I did sleep in my van rolling through Coachella last night