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Byrnes' Night

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Forgot to mention that Eric Byrnes has not taken kindly to comments regarding his appearance on Baseball Tonight:

I didn't realize how many degenerates sit there at home and watch television and surf the Internet and look for ways to belittle people. People should not be concentrating on what I'm wearing and what my hair looks like. They should be concerned with my flow and the knowledge coming out of my mouth.

At first I feared for a second he meant us, such as our comment regarding his suit, that "it didn't look like he was in it by choice." But a little research revealed that we were the veritable milk of human kindness compared to some of the comments out there. See the one on Deadspin, for example: "Please for the love of god tell me he didn't go on air with the intention of looking like he just spent 3 straight hours balling some MLB groupie."

While I wouldn't go anything like as far, the problem I found, is that his appearance was simply a huge distraction from what he was saying - which was, indeed, generally smart and informative. Television is, above all else, a visual medium, and how a pundit looks is part and parcel of the overall package. If you don't want people to comment on your appearance, don't give them anything to comment about. Eric Byrnes is not, by all accounts, a shirt and tie guy, and attempting to force himself into that mould just seems wrong. Maybe radio would be a better avenue, if he doesn't want people to focus on how he looks? I believe he often hosts a show in the Bay Area, and word is, he's pretty good.

Another, kinder Deadspin comment described him as "brighter than the average pro, unusually honest and pathologically talkative." These are sentiments with which I tend to agree: he reminds me of Mark Grace in many ways, who has cleaned up nicely since his playing days, and is now a credible player in those largely horrible 'At Ease' clothing commercials - can you just imagine Byrnes in one of them? This weekend, he's got a gig as an analyst on Fox, so it seems his talents are being appreciated, one way or another. But the viewing audience will forever continue to notice his appearance; how Byrnes deals with that could be a deciding factor in how far his television career goes.

I notice that our other outfielder's dabble into commentary is also not being universally acclaimed, with the New York Daily News unimpressed by Luis Gonzalez's performance: "Gonzalez, who came highly touted, was mediocre - and that's being kind. He stated the obvious ("Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters in the major leagues"), was confusing (he called an 84-mph Tom Glavine pitch "a fastball") and elected not to counter some of (Tim) McCarver's questionable analysis." Ouch. Tough crowd in New York.