9/7 Passing the torch

In Spring Training 2002, I had lunch with Doug Glanville right after one of our practices. People who don’t know, Doug played in Chicago, but he was the center fielder in Philly before I was there. He took me to lunch. I didn’t know what he wanted to talk about. We sat down, and the first thing he said was, “It’s inevitable.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “It’s inevitable. You’re going to come and take my job and I will go somewhere else. My job right now is to make sure, as much as possible, that you’re ready to come to the big leagues.”

He said, you’re the young guy. What happens in baseball, he explained, is the young guy comes up and take the older guy’s job, and the older guy goes somewhere else to play. Then, someone comes up and takes center field from you. It’s the cycle of baseball. It’s just the way things go in life.

I had the chance to do that in Texas. I did that with Julio Borbon. I wish I had another year with him to make sure he was fine, but at the same time, he was ready. I have a similar chance to do that here with Brett. You don’t know how long until he’s ready. I don’t know long I’m going to be here. That word “inevitable” — it’s going to happen. He’s a great talent out there, five tools, very explosive. But at the same time, you can’t come up here and dominate at the big leagues. You have to have that baseball I.Q., and I think it’s important for veterans like me to pass the torch and make sure whoever comes in behind me is 100 percent ready.

I’ll take him out to lunch. At the end of 2009, every road trip, Julio and I went to lunch. We sat and talked. Andruw Jones, too. We’d sit and have conversations. It’s one of those things where I don’t have to look over my shoulder because I know there’s always somebody coming.

That’s the way it works. When Brett’s ready, I’ll move on. That’s just the nature of the game and I accept that and I understand that. I want him when he comes up to go through all the good times and know everything negative that I’ve gone through in baseball — being outrighted, being designated — I don’t want him to have to go through that. I want him to come here ready.

— Marlon


  1. evan

    Shows the kind of teammate you are Marlon! We love you as a Cub and we hope that you stay here as long as possible! No matter what happens at the end of the season, we will never forget your heart, hustle, loyalty and effort on a daily basis. I feel bad that you didn’t get to experience winning in a Cubs uniform, because it is by far the most special and sensational thing to experience in baseball! Hopefully next year you can come back and we can have a year like 2007 and 2008 again!


  2. Jason

    Hey Marlon, how do you feel about playing as a right fielder? We might need one if things don’t work out as planned, and I for one would love to keep you on this team. I echo what evan said prior to me about your baseball work ethic. As cliche as this sounds, you are my favorite player, and will be no matter what team you play for. I just hope it’s the Cubs next year, otherwise your stay in Chicago would have been way too short!

  3. Scott Community College Library

    Hey Marlon,
    I have been a Cub fan for many years, and I am sure I will always be a Cub fan. I have seen many players come and go. There have been many that I was sorry to see leave but I always want what is best for the team. In my opinion, you are one of the best. In my opinion it would not be a good day for my Cubbies as a team or my fellow Cub fans if you were to leave. Cubbie blue is a good color for you.

  4. Patty C.

    Marlon Byrd, you are a true team player. God bless you & whoever raised you to be the outstanding individual you are. You have respect for the game, for its beauty, & for its need not just for talent but also for hustle. My heart sank when you were hit earlier this season, mostly concerned about your well-being, but also for the purely selfish fact that I wouldn’t get to see you play for many weeks, as you recovered. You are a gamer! Take care.

  5. Pat

    Almost brought a tear to my eye…. A truly compassionate man… One of the best men to have played the game….Marlon you will go on to do great things after your time in baseball…I hope you can get a few more years in chicago for the Cubs!
    God bless

  6. john s

    marlon, you stand for what a major leaguer should stand for. you play the way it should be played. you play hard and never give up. that to me is a major leaguer from top to bottom. good luck to whatever may come your way.

  7. Dan

    Marlon Byrd, i admire your hustle i respect your ability on the field. what i like most about you is the way you conduct yourself in life, you sir are a class act all the way.

    • Lost Fox

      Dan? We would like to ask that you stop posting for *just* long enough to get some manners. If you could pick up some of Mr. Byrd’s class along the way, that would be a great bonus. Thanks!

  8. Q

    “Evan” writes, and I quote: “I feel bad that you didn’t get to experience winning in a Cubs uniform, because it is by far the most special and sensational thing to experience in baseball!” WHAT??? HOW IN THE F#?//$ WOULD YOU OR ANY OTHER CUBS FAN KNOW??? THE CUBS HAVEN’T WON ANYTHING IN OVER 100 YEARS!!!!!!! ARE YOU SOME KIND OF F##//$ING MORON LIVING IN A F##//$ING FANTASY WORLD??? Oh, and BTW, “Byrd is NOT the word”, most Cubs fans wanted the Cubs to sign Coco Crisp or Scott Podsednik at the time, or any other CF with more speed and not quite as Fat and slow…

    • Larry Dean

      Go to a site that cares what you have to say. For one, you can having a winning season without going to the World Series. So your 100 year comment is pure ignorance. Your choice of language is ignorant and crass as well. Take your negative words and negative mind back to whatever backwater site you came from. We don’t need you here.

    • dorpenheimer

      Why did you come here? Crisp or Posednik are not Cubs, have never been Cubs, and never will be Cubs. Let’s say I wanted a specific toy when I was kid, and I didn’t get it. Maybe not getting it was the right choice. Now, what I wanted doesn’t matter anymore, because I forgot about whatever it was I wanted and worked with what I had. Byrd is a Cub, and your rant is what it is.

    • tucson bawho

      Listen used Q-Tip,
      Your rant has grown tiresome. Now touch my monkey. Go on touch it !!… Marlon Bryd is a man! He got hit in the face and crushed a few bones. Do you know what that feels like? I’m sure your nephew once threw a tennis ball at your face for being a Jack-ass uncle. You just laid there and had your girlfriend, who is a nurse, sit you down on a chair and check all your vitals. Honey, you’ll be ok. Just rotate the tylenol and Ibuprofen every six hours until the pain goes away. After 15 minutes you tell your girl that she better drive both of you home…
      Anywho, we get your frustration about sucking. How can we deny you that platform. We should all form a support group like AA. Everyone can have a sponsor and we can chain smoke cigaretts and drink coffee. Q-tippy, I would love to be your sponsor. Can I ? May I. Wont you be my neighbor? I think I could talk you off the ledge. You know, kinda like a S.W.A.T negotiator. First, I would try to settle you down so you wouldnt jump. Next, I would ask you if I could buy you some peanuts and Crackerjack and ask if you care that you will ever come back (off the ledge). Darnit, that last sentence may trigger a Cub moment. Sorry. Lets start over….I’ll just sniper shot you from another building. It would save the Cub fans from another Lee Elia clone….

  9. DeeBee

    Marlon, You are also my favorite Cub. You are a team player, you play hard, and it is impossible not to see joy and passion in everything you do. That smile of yours just lights up the stadium. You are a class act and I too would love to see you with the Cubs in the coming years.

    • Chad

      Umm this is for “Q”, the guy that leaves a response but cant even leave his name. Its people like you that are ruining the game of baseball. Marlon Byrd has been a class act on and off the field since the day he walked on the field. He might not be fastest or the strongest but damn he plays the game the right way. The true Cubs fans wanted a player like Marlon Byrd, all baseball fans would want a player like him on his/her favorite team. there needs to be more players like him

  10. PlutoniumX99


    I’ve read all of your posts. First time commenting, because I feel like the perspective you show here extends far beyond the game, but into the heart of what it means to be a man doing a job, and it’s unequivocally the right way to do the job.

    As much as I wish I could have the job of playing CF for the Cubs…I don’t. I’m a Math teacher. Knowing how much was at risk, someone (Hendry) looked at you and thought: “given the circumstances, THAT’S the guy I want to do the job…to play CF in Wrigley Field.”. But it’s the same for me, and hopefully, same for everyone who has a job. Someone looked at me and thought “Someone’s gotta teach these kids, and THAT’S the guy I want to do it”. If you don’t have an “unhealthy” amount of pride in the job you do…then you’re not doing it right.

    Luckily, I’m not an athlete; my body may deteriorate, but my job isn’t dependent on that. Unfortunately for the athlete…you get older, but “prospects” stay the same age. Nevertheless, we’re all just human. We know we can’t do this forever, but we owe it to the man/woman who signs our checks to make the decision to replace us as difficult as possible. And it would kill me to think that I was replaced without exerting every single bit of my ability…not just for pride’s sake, but because I owe the team, and the mgmt.

    And when the decision to “pass the torch” is made, it’s not a sad thing if I know I’ve played @ 125% and still fallen short…because the person that’s taking the job is better than me, and that’s what the team deserves. But I know I won’t step down until I’m convinced that this newcomer can do the job better than I can.

  11. Mark

    I agree with the other posters (except ‘Q’). Marlon, you are a class act. And a wonderful outfielder. We love to see your smile out there. Here’s hoping you stay with the Cubs as long as you want.

  12. Wade Erickson (@wadedog21)

    Wow! If all Major League players had this mentallity the game would still be played for the “love of the game” and not for the $. Marlon – I think you will still have the opportunity to win in Chicago next year! Your leadership and skills are far to important to this team!

  13. Pingback: Marlon Byrd is Ready to Help Brett Jackson Take Byrd’s Job | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary
  14. Keithman

    Hi Marlon!

    Man, you really sound like you’re getting ready for your own funeral! You need to liven things up a bit. Have you thought about writing about fast cars or hot women or things blowing up? I feel like you’re writing a Nicholas Sparks novel when all I want is a Jerry Bruckheimer film! Let me throw this at you…even when you lose your job to Jackson you’re still a) fantastically wealthy 2) relatively young III) wearing that cyborg mouthpiece over your face to protect you from wayward fastballs.

    Now let me tell you something about grooming the up and comers…I don’t do it. I’m still too young to do it. I mean, in church league softball you can play until you’re 70 so what’s the point of helping someone replace you? I like it when the kids come in and play for a while, but when my sister-in-law Tara writes me out of the lineup I put on my grump face and throw a small tantrum. That’s the nature of the game, Marlon…grump face. Even Fostering Godly Families Randy does it. That guy’s improved a lot this year so he finally has some leverage when he does it too. =( <— GRUMP FACE!

    Well Marlon, my brother-in-law Andy jumped ship on the fall league. You can save your traitor rants for another year because it turns out he was bailing from a sinking ship. "I'm sorry I didn't build you a better ship, young Rose." Yeah, I quoted the epic motion picture "Titanic"…you have to understand that James Horner wrote the score for that film and that dude can write some serious music! He also did the music for Field of Dreams which brings me back to my original point that while Andy is playing Friday nights in the mens league, our fall team didn't get a spot at Delta Park. It's a bummer, but at least I now have all week to sit around and get fat.

    My daughter (name intentionally withheld) scored 3 goals in her first ever soccer game on Tuesday! She's well on her way to the World Cup team for the U.S. I don't want her doing Dancing with the Stars though. Too much skin…too much skin, Marlon. Maybe I'll be lucky and since she's only 5 there won't be a Dancing with the Stars when she's famous. In a related story, my youngest son (name intentionally withheld) pooped his pants. He's started eating some solid food and now his gas smells horrible. I tried to change a clean diaper last night.

    Then my cat Ice walked over to the blanket where I almost changed the diaper, sniffed it and started peeing! I could have killed him, Marlon. Don't worry…all I did was pick him up, yell at him and toss him at his cat door. Oh, then I locked him outside. I'm not having a house that smells like cat pee. I'm just not doing it. It's a pretty rough time because I love my cat Ice but you can't have a cat that pees in your house.

    Hey Marlon, did you see that our letters are being used to educate the future minds of America? It's great news, isn't it? In that respect I think your blog hit the nail on the head this time. We are indeed passing the torch of knowledge to the next generation so they too can have one-sided conversations with people they see on TV. Well, I'm going to get back to the day job (I'm not telling you what it is, but I will say it fits well in the sentence "Nobody ever says 'I want to be a _______ when I grow up'").

    Oh, I met a dude from Nebraska who has tickets to 25 games a year in the right field corner. If you ever get moved out to right because of Brett Jackson look up by the foul pole and say "Hi Joel! Keithman told me to 'look up by the foul pole and say' that". Deal? Deal.



  15. retlaw

    This is why – in the 21st century baseball – you become fans of players as much, or nearly as much, as a fan of a team.

  16. Kim

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I’m glad you you have such a maturity about the passage of time and acceptance of being replaced and willingness (thank goodness) to teach the kids but I, for one, am not ready to see Marlon leave the team. No way, no how. You are my favorite player to watch and still much better than most of the kids. Keep up the great playing!

  17. David O

    It is so refreshing to read this view from an MLB ballplayer. Agree with others that Marlon sets an example every day for younger (and a lot of older) players with his constant hustle and 100% play. I wish we saw more of it, because the kids in the stand notice these things, like when someone doesn’t run out a play to 1st or goes half heartedly for a fly ball. You are still a great player, Marlon, and hope there are many more afternoons in centerfield for the Cubs for you. Love watching you play the game!

  18. tucson ba-who

    Hey Chief Keithman,
    Stop acting like Robert DeNiro in the movie “The Fan” or better yet when he played the role of Max Cade in “Cape Fear”. Marlon should never answer requests from us nutty Cub fans. He’s probably donating most of his free time for Charities and child causes. So it would be proper to stop trying to bully a man who does more for humanity in one season than you do in a lifetime. Yes, and your posts are very educational and should be used to educate the youth. It should be called “The subtle signs of cyber bullying” Anyways, your need to be recognized needs to be addressed with your shrink or the little guy who stands on your right shoulder. You know the one that only YOU can see. I know you are craving attention you desperately need. Hey Marlon, can you pleeese, prettta pleeese with sugar on top pat your glove 3X in the bottom of every third inning when its over 84 degrees and the wind blowing out of the south. Then I will know you are thinking about ME the Keithman. THanks a Bunch!

    Hey , I would like to help you fill in the blanks for your bio. This would be perfect.> I would like to be THE ASSISTANT FLUFFER at the Admiral Theatre when I grow up. Congrats on living the dream!!

    I guess this will remain a “one-sided conversation” with people I read in blogs. OOOOH, but Marlon should respond to you with a wink, Hi, or a “Keithman sends regards” to some Joey “bag of donuts” in right field. Disregard the man behind the curtain!! I am the great and powerful Keithman! Ignore the man behind the curtain! I am the great n powerful K..th..mannnn.

    You are still hilarious. Keep up the good work…..

  19. Brian Tecktiel

    Marlon, speaking as a long time Cub Fan, I am not prepared to lose you next season. There are 3 open outfield positions as far as I’m concerned. You are a stellar fielder and a solid hitter. Brett is a terrific prospect, but he hasn’t played a game of big league ball. Even if he wows them next year and wins a job in the spring great, maybe you play right or left. I would like to at least see you finish the last year of your contract year. If everything goes great, if we have a logjam of great outfielders, than maybe you go to a contender mid-season and we get some value in return. I see no reason to trade you this off season.

  20. Dan Weiss

    I would just like to thank Ryan Dempster and Rodriguez Lopez for making a seven year olds first game something that he wont ever forget.Ryan signed his glove and rodriguez threw him a ball.Then Ryan came back again and signed the ball.This was at att&t Ball Park on monday aug. 29th.And the cubs won what a great day.

  21. Tom King

    Marlon – great stuff. I hope you stick with the Cubs. You play the game the right way. I have really enjoyed watching you play. God Bless!

  22. Rickey Ferguson

    Byrd, you are such a dodger. You still don’t have the guts to address your turn-coat stance you took against your team in St. Louis on the dirtiest slide of 2011 by Matt Holliday as blind and incompetent umpire Darrell Cousins looked on. I hope you pass your torch right on out of Wrigley Field just as soon as the 2011 season ends, or better yet, even sooner. Your cowardly stance on that dirty play will be what you will always be remembered for. You’ve had more than enough time to get it right but you have chosen to ignore it like that will somehow make it all go away. You have chosen to take the low road Byrd but you didn’t have to. You could have made things right but you didn’t have the courage. Good riddance you pathetic excuse of a ballplayer. The sooner Wrigley Field is the sight in your rearview mirror, the better.

    • tucson bawho

      Rickey Ricardo Ferguson,
      You have aloaa of esplaining to do Rickey. Waaaaaa. Just like Lucy use to do to Desi. Are you the official Cub-Cop? You cantankerous SOB. Go kick a puppy you big jerk….

  23. Brooke Mills

    I don’t know if you actually read these or not, but I was at the Pirates game on September 3rd. It was my first time to sit just three rows up from the wall at Wrigley, and watching you during warm up is just one of my favorite things to do! You have a great personality, and you bring such a light hearted fun feeling to the team. I loved watching you joke around, or at least it seemed that way, with Soto. I think you are just what the Cubs need during a season like this. You go out there every day, play as hard as you possibly can, and keep such a great attitude. I got a bunch of pics of you while you were out there, my dad actually asked if I was stalking you 🙂 I just love seeing someone on a team, that has obviously not done as well as everyone was hoping, try to keep everyone light and working hard! Thank you for all you do for the team that I love so much!

  24. Jason

    Marlon I am 32 years old and have been a Cubs fan for as long as I can remember I grew up with guys like Sandberg, Dawson, Dunson, Sutcliff and Grace and listening to one of the greatest Cubbies every on the radio Ronnie Santo. I think that since those years we have only had A handful of Gentlemen on our team and I put you in that class. You play the game for the love of baseball just like any of those young kids out there do and I think you are one of the greatest role models in professional sports. It’s refreshing to see guys like you still in the game and I remember the day Mark Grace left that was one of the saddest days in my Cubs life and I think the day you leave will top that one. My three year old son and I hope we get to watch you play for several more years in a Cubs uniform but, if not thank you for representing my team as a class act. Thanks Jason and Aiden

  25. Bleedblue

    You are the kind of player that every young person needs to look up to and make an example out of. You bring such a great prospective to the game and play 100% every game. I would love to see you stay in chicago and be a great influence to all the new players. It takes a big man to play with his head along with his heart. I am from St.Louis but i am a die hard cubs fan. Every time i get to see a cubs game you never seem to disappoint me. You will forever have a place in this cubs fan’s heart.

  26. Sara Chappell

    Marlon you are an amazing player and apparently an even more amazing person. Thanks for always hustling on the field and giving it your all. I hope to see you in Cubbie blue for years to come!

  27. jimbo

    Marlon Byrd you are one heck of a classy dude. We need you,you are a CHICAGO CUB and you guys are going to me on top of the league next year. Enjoy the rest of the season and year.lots of success to you and my favorite team the Cubbies.

  28. jwoolymamouth

    Marlon, thanks for the hustle, legging out everything that comes your way, sacrificing the body, willingness to hit the ball to the right side to move the runner and help the team, doing whatever the situation dictates, and being selflessw when it comes to personal stats over the good of the team. Is it too late for any of this to rub off on SORRYano?? I only wish!!! Keep up the class act. Wish you all the best-

  29. Ty

    Marlon I met you at Fitch field the first day you were a Cub and you were kidding around that you did not know where to go. You were a class act then and you have never wavered through thick and thin. BY the way a class act brought you to the Cubs–Jim Hendry

  30. Keithman

    Hi Marlon!

    You’re not gonna believe this Marlon, but I started ANOTHER blog! You should check it out this off season when you’re probably living like a rock star!


    Click an ad or two when you’re there to support out sponsors! It’s so commercial it might as well be UnderArmour painted on the doors at Wrigley!


  31. Southside Cubs fan

    Mr. Bird if you read dis I just wanna let you know how appreciated you are to this city and this ball club. I just had to comment after those two great defensive plays today against da cards in a tight game. Now that this season is coming to an end it makes me wonder if you’ll be in cubbie blue next year. i know i speak for da majority of cubs fans when i say you’ll be truly missed if you leave and its too bad we couldn’t be a contender this year. Well if you do come back id like to see you host some kinda R.B.I(reviving baseball in inner city youth) event on the southside. Im a southside cubs fan. Well really southwest side cubs fan! and ders alot of cubs fans on da southside who get somewhat aggravated that everybody trys to label the cubs as da “northside” team! not true. it would be great if you came down to one the black community’s and show these kids how great baseball can be. Seeing blacks and american born hispanics disappear from baseball is sad to me cuz i love it and i wish it was more popular amongst us. Maybe you can help spark interest(at least in Chicago). just a thought.

  32. Diane Peterson

    I’ve been a Cubs fan for 50 years, and I haven’t seen a player with your attitude and hustle since Ernie Banks, and that’s putting you in pretty good company. I hope to see you retire in a Cubbies uniform, and I can’t think of anyone better to teach the youngsters about being a team player.
    I enjoy watching you so much that I commit Bleacher Bum heresy by sitting in left center (they’d take away my yellow hard hat for that.)
    I certainly hope you have the Cubs in your plans for the future. If they don’t have you in theirs, that’s one of the worst mistakes they’ve made in a long time, and they’ve made plenty. I hope to see you at Wrigley next season and for as many seasons after that as you care to play. After all, the bottom of the 8th just doesn’t feel right without a few Byrds around. (Sorry for the pun, I just couldn’t resist.)

  33. Pingback: The Byrd is the Word « Behind the Ivy
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