3/28 On Barney, the “mini Marlon Byrd”

I talked to Barney last year in Spring Training and didn’t know what kind of player he was. You watch him play and you saw he had the work ethic. One thing I thought he needed was a better routine. In the Minor Leagues, you do certain things certain ways and it works. But for some reason, in the big leagues, you try that same routine, and it doesn’t work. There’s a lot more chaos when you get up to the big leagues and start learning about the media and your meetings. Last year, when he got called up, he listened. He fought at certain times and didn’t want to listen because he had his way. I understood. Again, I’m a big believer if a guy has success in the big leagues, there’s a reason and you might want to start paying attention. You don’t have to take everything from him but take parts — I’ve said that before about passing the torch.

Coming in this year, what really impressed me, is I came out here early to work with my sprint coach. Barney came out for the entire day and all of his times — and I’ve been working with my sprint guy for a year — all of his times were better than mine. The hurdle jumps we did, sprints, everything we did, he was a lot better. And he finished the entire 1 1/2 hour workout with me and said he liked it and felt good. You compound that with his work ethic — he knows how to play. He’s a winner — back to back national championships — and then you look at his Minor League numbers and he knows how to play. You start working in the cage, and he started learning and paying attention even more. He was doing that young guy thing and sitting back and listening and taking bits and pieces. He was listening to Rudy, listening to his infield guys.

You see him as a great player and not just a utility guy but a guy who can start. I believe he can have a long big league career because of his work ethic and because of the way he learns. It transfers over into the games. Everything he’s done this Spring Training, I don’t think he’s surprised anyone and there’s a reason he has made this team. I don’t think anyone has any doubts about him because he can play the game. Everything is transferred over that he’s learned this past year in the big leagues. The biggest thing about him that I like is the fact he can play anywhere in the field and doesn’t look uncomfortable. Third, second, short — I’m sure if he was in center field he could do it. He’s that guy who is really going to help us this year.

His dad said he looks like a mini Marlon Byrd at the plate. That’s cool. A lot of guys make fun of it, but if anybody saw Mark DeRosa in Texas, they called him a mini Michael Young and there’s worse guys you can follow. Everything we’ve done, his approach, it’s Rudy’s system and he’s believed in it. There are certain things that we do similar hitting-wise. When I was in Texas, a lot of guys were like, “Oh, you want to be like Ian Kinsler?” Yes, I do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Barney is going to have his own style and it’s going to show.

I’ve been bringing him breakfast in Spring Training but that stops March 30. When he starts getting big league money, he can get his own breakfast.

— Marlon


Marlon, you missed on thing. I’m guessing because you are modest, is while you are giving him all the mentoring you can on the field, Cub fans know he’s also getting off the field advice. The interviews, what you do in your free time (or, better yet, what you don’t do) staying out of trouble, etc is all stuff that gets over looked and I don’t think we could find a better mentor in that regard than you. Looking forward to making my annual trip from Des Moines to Wrigley and seeing you all in action again sometime this summer!

Great blog Marlon! It’s really nice to read that a veteran is taking a rookie under his wing. Kudos to you!

I love love the cubs roster and infusion of young talent thru-out. But i worry about a legitimate lead off man and our defense.I”mpulling for the cubs to do well this year and in the future.my son and grand son are all fans.good luck to you Marlonon on a great year and a wonderful career. we love watching you play and you”e enthusiasm for the game. sincerely Dan

So are you going to make him do flips?? He said if someone makes him, he’ll do them at Wrigley. Awesome job Marlon!

Last year when Barney first came up to the majors I wasn’t too sure about how he was going to do. This spring training has changed my mind about him though. I am big on first impressions but at the same time need to sometimes just have faith in people. God has taught me that much! I am seeing a different more mature side of Barney this year opposed to last year. I mean what can I really expect from someone who is a rookie. He is a great ballplayer who I believe God has given opprotunity to good in his life. I wish I was able to play ball growing up. I have always dreamed of playing for the Cubbies and I am glad that there are players like you all. Players that represent everyday people. I am also glad that you take time out to write in your blog. That tells me a lot about the kind of person you really are. Thanks for your blogs. I hope that I can take leave and go to Chicago and watch you all in person. May God bless you and yours, Joe C.

Hi Marlon!

You’re right on about being able to take components from other players and apply them to yourself. It’s amazing how our egos get in the way of our own progress sometimes, isn’t it? For instance…one time I looked around the grocery store for like 20 minutes trying to find granola bars. I must have looked up and down the candy aisle and chip/snack aisle 10 times before my wife asked the clerk who showed us that the granola bars are in the breakfast cereal aisle! BREAKFAST CEREAL? I’m a level-headed guy (at times), Marlon, but when you start mixing chewy sweetness with milk covered wonder I start steaming. The moral is, ask and you can get smarterer.

Marlon, I’ve been working on the shirts for Church League Softball and it’s really come a long way. I think we’ll be the sharpest dressed team out there sporting just slightly less than copyright infringing Cub-like shirts. Don’t issue a cease and desist on me, Marlon. We’re tighter than that, right?

My brother-in-law Andy is opening his home on opening day. I’m going to skip out of work so I can watch you guys punish the Pie Rats for showing their faces at Wrigley! The guy who’s coaching our second team in Church League Softball is a Pirates fan. It’s strange when enemies become friends. I think that’s why gangs never get together at diversity day parties and dances. All the strangeness…

Marlon, there’s a lot going on in the world right now. I’ve lost track of how many countries in the Middle East and North Africa are in turmoil and this thing in Japan is horrible. What I’m saying, Marlon, is get your soul right. And also give me something to cheer for. I’m tired of losing, Marlon. My son tells me to root for different teams because the ones I love make me sad. I tell him teams aren’t like women, son. You can’t just jump from one to the other. I’m kidding Marlon, my wife Taela would jump out of her skin if I was like that.

Here’s to blowing away expectations (and taking advantage of the Cardinals’ pitching injuries). Yeah, I said it Marlon.



marlin god bless you brother you have to be the backbone of this team. No offense to any of the catchers. You be the man and hit well and play that ivy when it comes in. You can be the man don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. We true fans are behind you man.

I think the rookies need to be the ones bringing breakfast to our All-Stars!
Thanks for taking Darwin under you wing. He’s had a great spring. I’m glad he made the roster.
Good luck, Barney!

Mr. Byrd, you just keep doing what you do and we will have more young cubs wanting to be a “mini-Marlon Byrd” and that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Not bad at all.
Your work ethic, and their results are self explanatory. I hope the entire AAA club wants to be mini-Marlon Byrds. The whole Cubs Nation would be a great hands if that occurs. Kudos to you for what you have done so far for all of us.

p.s. Barney should buy your breakfast that first week in Chicago!

He is definitely a winner!

Darwin is lucky to have a man of your caliber on his side. So are the Cubs.

Personally, I am so glad you’re a Cub. When they got you, in my mind they finally made a GOOD off-season move – or at least the best one since they picked up Derrick Lee.

Byrd Man you’re an awesome team mate and player. Go get them this year!!!!!

I’m so excited for the new season. If Barney has half the work ethic and enthusiam that Marlon has, he will be fantastic! Thanks for writing the blog Mr. Byrd. Have a great year.

HeyHey buddy!! Great hearing your perspective!!! Keep those high stirrups, seem to be workin!!

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