Mets reliever Tim Byrdak has been known for his antics. From Little Jerry the Chicken to the spring training Hulk Hogan, the 39-year old always finds a way to keep the mood light.
Sunday at Citi Field, prior to the Amazin’s series finale and eventual 12th inning walk-off win, Byrdak was headed to the clubhouse after batting practice. As he walked down the right field line, a number of young autograph seekers beckoned his name.
Most ballplayers will either put their head down and trot into the tunnel or silently sign and depart; but not Byrdak. Approaching the dugout, Byrdak gazes upon an assembling crowd through his sunglasses with his hands on his hips.
“Alright,” said Byrdak, holding up four fingers as he leans on the railing. “I’m only going to sign four autographs. Hmmm.”
He inspects the line of 11,12,13 and 14-year olds, then pointing at each one individually.
“No, no, no, no, no and no… Okay see ya!” He says with a grin.
Byrdak then proceeds to ask each of the kids their age, then based on their age asks them trivia questions, and whoever got it correct won an autograph. Ranging from state capitals to movie references, Byrdak entertained the fans with an unorthodox and fun way of obtaining autographs.
After his “four” were up, he proceeded to sign for everyone else who was not fortunate enough to be asked a trivia question.
When I asked if he does this every time he signs, he replied “Ah, every once in a while.”
Byrdak provided a laughter-filled experience with all involved and it was refreshing to see a major league ballplayer interact with fans in such a way.
(Photo credit: Clayton Collier)