7/15 Boys & Girls Club visit

Note: On Thursday, Marlon Byrd visited the Union League Boys & Girls Club on North Washtenaw Avenue to kickoff a summer-long program. It was the official launch of a community outreach program created by the Cubs and Steiner Sports Memorabilia, Inc., which will include a clinic Monday at Wrigley, hosted by Byrd and pitcher Randy Wells.

It was funny because I remember my first day at the Boys Club — me going in and meeting new people and being a little bit scared because I didn’t know anybody. The relationships that carried over — I met Dion Glover, who used to play with the Atlanta Hawks. Today just took me back. I remembered all those days and the fun we had with all the kids. Everybody was so friendly. At the same time, being able to give back and having them cheer for you and seeing the smiling faces, it was wonderful.

— Marlon


  1. keithcub

    Hi Marlon!

    I’m glad that you not only give it all on the field, but that you give a little back when you can. I’m sure those kids think you’re the bees’ knees. I remember getting my picture taken with Clyde Drexler and Robert Pack and Jerome Kersey and Enos Whatley (I know, who names their kid ‘Enos Whatley’?) and Alaa Abdelnaby (I think he got to choose his name) when I was a kid and it was awesome. Those guys were basketball players though so they were probably way taller than you.

    Speaking of giving back, yesterday was the day of reckoning. I was the coach…which with my temperment might not be the BEST idea. So the other team says “hey there’s a guy that wants to umpire, do you mind if he just does it?” and we say “no, that’d be really great”. You see, Marlon, we have to umpire ourselves and it’s a big pain in the butt. Only a few of us are willing to do it and it’s hard to call your own team out and it can get pretty hairy. Anyway, this guy was willing to ump the whole game and that seemed pretty swell to me.

    Well, in the first inning my father-in-law John rips this ball down the left field line. There are cones out there so you can easily see what’s fair and what’s foul. I was 3rd base coach and the ball lands about 4 feet fair and I start waving like crazy (no, not to my adoring fans, but at the baserunners because I’m sending them home just like Wendell…another reference you won’t get because you’re so new). Then I hear the ump yelling “Foul! Foul!” I swear, Marlon, I thought he was talking about his breath because that ball wasn’t close to foul. Turns out while the breath statement would have been accurate, he was calling the ball foul. It cost us two runs, but we forgot about it. He proceeded to blow one call in our favor and another against us in the next half inning. Then came the biggie.

    My wife Taela was up and hit a grounder toward 3rd. The ball rolled foul and then back fair and nobody touched it. I was 1st base coach and I’m excited because she got a hit and again I hear this ump yelling “Foul! Foul!” I had learned from experience that he doesn’t simply berate his breath loudly on the field so I came in, as the coach, and tried to clarify the rule for him. He was having none of that. He just kept saying “it hit foul, it hit foul” which I was told later meant that he thought it had landed in foul territory (remember, this was a GROUND BALL that started 6 inches fair). Anyway, I put the kibosh on that guy right there. No more umpire, we’re going to self-umpire.

    Then I look up and my father-in-law John is really cheesed off and he’s barking at the other team who thinks it should have been a foul ball. Eventually the 3rd base girl is yelling at him to shut up. Remember, this is church league softball, Marlon. I think things will be smoother when my brother-in-law Andy retakes the helm (I think that’s a shipping term) next week. He is a voice of reason and sometimes pride-swallowing compromise (not my strong-suit).

    So later I’m at SS and this guy gets a hit and the ball comes back in to me and he’s standing off 1st daring me to make a throw so I throw it but my shoulder is pretty rickety these days, Marlon, and I didn’t have an angle so it gets by the first baseman and as the runner is running to second he says “nice throw, short” real loud-like for everyone to hear. I walked right up to that guy, about a foot away from him and say “really, you’re gonna be like that, here?” He says “what?” I say “you know what” he says “no, what?” and I say “the sarcasm…it’s totally unnecessary and has no place here” and he says “you mean like your pitcher” and I say “so my pitcher’s a jerk to someone else so you’re a jerk to me?” and he says “you know what? I’m sorry” and say “you’re serious?” and he reaches out his hand to shake mine and says “yeah, I’m sorry” and say “I don’t think so, freak”…no, Marlon, you know me better than that I say “alright, we’re cool” and shake his hand. It was awesome. You should try that sometime.

    I think we need to pray more.

    One more thing, Marlon. I really wish you guys had swept the Phils.


  2. keithcub

    Hi Marlon,

    You know I have a strict rule against commenting more than once on any of your posts, but I had to make an exception tonight. You see, my brother-in-law Andy and my sister-in-law Tara are going to be at the game tomorrow. They said they are going to be holding a sign for you, so be looking for Brother-in-Law Andy!

    I have to tell you a story really quick before I get back to online poker, Marlon. My brother-in-law Andy called me at lunch today and told me that The Riot had put together some brown bags with autographed balls in them for $20 each and he said he was buying one and asked if I wanted to buy one. I said “for sure, Andy!” and he said he would pay me back for the hotel from the trip when we went to see you guys in Seattle. I was like “cool man, that’s 85 big ones”. Anyway, Marlon, I got a pic text from my brother-in-law Andy showing a ball signed by none other than Lou Piniella! The finger nails on the hand in the picture were pretty nice so I figure they had to be my sister-in-law Tara’s hands holding it but I didn’t ask questions. So I texted him back and came to find out that they conducted a double blind process in which the bag for them was chosen BEFORE opening either and I got Lou…and they got YOU! It’s a good thing they’re Christians or I might have to cut both balls in half and then have us each share both…no, I’m not crazy like Mel Gibson, Marlon.

    Anyway, I was so close to getting a Marlon Byrd ball! Sometimes life is like that Marlon.

    Also, my brother-in-law Andy and my sister-in-law Tara are some of the best people you can meet so look for them tomorrow (Wednesday) and maybe chat them up a bit. If you end up going out to pizza at Gino’s East or something, I’ll pick up the tab. Stay cool and nice comeback today!


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