Thu May 13 09:59am EDT
The last home run that Eric Byrnes(notes) hit in an official game before Wednesday came on the final weekend of the 2009 season. It was the top of the ninth at Wrigley Field and Byrnes took an Aaron Heilman(notes) pitch deep to left-center field for his second homer of the game.
The recently-DFAed Seattle Mariner also put together a two-homer game for his famed Dutch Goose softball team on Wednesday, though under different circumstances. The pitcher he faced — Bill Lopez of Vintage Construction — is of much higher quality than Heilman, and his mother was sitting so close in the bleachers that he was able to immediately present the home run ball to her.
There was one big similarity, too. Byrnes was still performing in front of interested media members. Pro Rumors went out and took the video above (as well as some good pictures), while Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle showed up and got a decent column out of the night. One of his teammates even shot me an email to let me know how the team did.
"(Byrnes) hit 2 homers in his first two at bats and they gave him the game ball on the first one. We only won 5-2 so he made a big difference. The pitcher on the opposing team coached against him in Little League and has been pitching on the same softball team since Byrnes was 10 years old. Reporters and camera men in the stands and at the Goose before the game sharing a beer with him. John Gall from Stanford and St. Louis Cardinals also hit one out in a low scoring game."
It's strange to think that Byrnes was performing in front of thousands of fans just a few weeks ago, but is now swinging a bat in front of a few dozen others at a California softball field. You'd think he might have a problem with that comedown, but then you read Jon Paul Morosi's feature on Byrnes' transition and realize that really isn't the case. Byrnes says he is at peace with his new stage in life and to that, I say cheers.