Marlon Byrd checks in with MMO to talk about his experience playing for the Mets, how he’s bounced back from his 50-game PEDs suspension, his time in the Mexican League, if he thinks he’ll be traded and how to carry the momentum into the second half of the season.
MMO: David mentioned before yesterday’s game that it’s been great having you on this team for your presence on and off the field, especially for the younger guys. How have you felt about your time with the Mets so far?
MB: I’m just having a great time. This is a great group of guys and I was glad to make the team out of Spring Training. This great organization gave me a great opportunity and I’m just trying to reward them with good play. Like I said before, great group of guys so it’s easy to fit in and it’s been easy to work with a lot of these young guys. This team’s going to be good very soon.
MMO: Many people were skeptical about how you’d perform this year after having a down year last year. What’s been the key for you bouncing back this year?
MB: Just work, getting better. I remember after last year and my positive test, any numbers that I put up now or anything good, people are going to be skeptical. People are going to make comments. It’s part of the game. There’s nothing I can do. I made my mistake last year so I try to move on because I lived through it. It’s one of those things where I continue to work and try to get better and hopefully put together good seasons.
MMO: You’ve made some recent comments about how playing in the Mexican league has rejuvenated your love for baseball. What was your experience like down there?
MB: It was different down there. I had a great time. I love Culiacán, living in a different country, learning a different culture, learning a different language. At the same time, you’re a foreign player. You start learning about how it is for the guys from the Dominican, Venezuela, and Japanese players to come to the States and play on foreign soil. It’s one of those things where, when I finished playing, I really appreciated Major League Baseball and I was excited to get back.
MMO: You’re no stranger to this business at this point in your career. With your production so far this year, do you suspect there’s a chance you might be traded to a contending team who needs another power bat in the lineup?
MB: That’s a part of the business. Sandy Alderson’s going to do anything possible to make this organization the best it can be. That could be keeping me or trading me for some pieces down the road. It’s one of those things where I need to keep producing so I can make his job a little bit easier. If he does want to trade me, he can get some key pieces back instead of just getting rid of me for no reason. Again, it’s part of the business. I’ve been around long enough. I’ve been traded. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I love this organization and I’d love to stay.
MMO: What’s going to need to happen to carry over this momentum the team’s had into the second half of the season?
MB: Stay healthy. Our pitchers, our bullpen has been beat up, but they’ve done a great job this year. They’ve pitched a lot of innings and made a lot of appearances. Keeping our starting pitching healthy too; having our youngster, Zack Wheeler, really blossom, learn and get better while he’s here and keep the offense consistent. You know, we hit a low point around May and really weren’t hitting the ball like we wanted to. If we have those type of runs, we need to shorten them—maybe three or four days long and not two weeks long. If we do that and stay consistent, we’ll be fine.
MMO wants to thank Marlon Byrd for taking some time out of his big day to talk to us. Also thanks to Jay Horwitz, Shannon Forde and the New York Mets for all the hook-ups these last three weeks. We appreciate all you do for us…. Joe D.