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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Glanville: Marlon Byrd, through the eyes of a mentor

When I was traded to the Phillies, I would always arrive to spring training early. Marlon Byrd would be right there with me, and we would train together. Running, talking, hitting. I knew he was going to get to the big leagues—it was only a matter of time. I also knew I could help him get there.

Once he did arrive, I held nothing back. I opened up my book and read aloud all of the chapters of the game. At that point, I was an established regular and realized that even if he would take my job after I had a slow month, I could still find work. Once you break through and become a productive starter, you can hang around the game a long time, Byrd or not. Maybe not in Philly like I would have hoped, but somewhere…

So I went to Texas as a starter in 2003, and Byrd hit .303 in his first full season as a regular in Philadelphia. I was genuinely proud of him and his work. He developed a reputation as a hard worker and someone who hustled on every ball. Every part of his game was growing.

When I returned to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2004, it was Byrd’s job—and I knew I would have to wait for a window to be a starting center fielder again. He struggled, but by then, our relationship was close and we talked about tactics during pre-game workouts. We would stand in the outfield during batting practice and talk, just like I did with Jimmy Rollins, just like Brian McRae did with me…

So when the news came out about Byrd’s 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug this week, I was upset. It had nothing to do with guilt or innocence or my work on the drug policy or cheating or not cheating. It was like any parent would feel… Byrd has publicly conceded his mistake and certainly is already paying for it. He has also explained that his suspension came from medically addressing the recurrence of a personal health issue. Yet he must also have known that the drug policy lays out a way to deal with this kind of circumstance without getting in trouble for it. That is where I wish he did it differently. Privacy was the most important factor for him at the time he made his decision. It trumped policy. A choice often made from being in the public eye, but an expensive one on so many levels, in this case…

It will get nasty from here on for him, but he also has an opportunity to regroup. From the eyes of mentor, I just hope he will take this time and learn from it, which, knowing Marlon Byrd, I am sure he will attack it with the same reckless abandon he shows on the field. Then I hope he will teach from it, helping anyone who can gain from it, especially young fans and young players.

Even if one of those players could be his replacement.

The District Attorney Posted: June 30, 2012 at 12:35 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: doug glanville, marlon byrd, ped, special topics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Esoteric Posted: June 30, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4170213)
Glanville really is a superb columnist, isn't he?
   2. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: June 30, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4170283)
   3. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: July 01, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4170330)
he's better than ok.
   4. McCoy Posted: July 01, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4170338)
He's a 1?
   5. Downtown Bookie Posted: July 01, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4170434)
Nice article. Well worth the read.

   6. GregD Posted: July 01, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4170463)
Nice piece. What do you think were Lance Johnson's lessons on "race and dating"?
   7. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: July 01, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4170589)
I'm hoping RA Dickey turns into Doug Glanville after he retires in a decade.
   8. Darren Posted: July 01, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4170711)

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