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From a Crappy TV Show to Porn: Your Primer to the Sox's New Ace, Paul Byrd

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At this moment, I want to know everything about the man we know as Paul Byrd.

But I must warn you: what I am going to tell you might frighten some and will certainly shock all.

When I came to the realization that I wanted to "know everything about Paul Byrd," it led me to Google his name. I find his Wikipedia page. Just two paragraphs in, I'm captivated:

Byrd is well-known for his striking resemblance to actor Kelsey Grammer and because of this is called "Frasier" by his teammates.

Are you kidding me? Really? That's amazing. Since this is literally the first piece of information you encounter after his name, birth place, birth date and his occupation, this has to be extremely important. But it takes me off course: if this scrumptious nugget of information lies here, I wonder if we can find the answer to the "Seabass" nickname for Alex Gonzalez at his Wikipedia page. But not this Alex Gonzalez.

(Turns out, Wikipedia also lists "Sea-bass" as Gonzo's nickname, but there's no source of why. Shucks, Drugs Delaney. You and I continue to be stumped.)

Back on track here. I x'ed out of Gonzo's page, back to Mr. Byrd's. The next few sentences are chock-full of awesome information. They are re-digested here for your pleasure:

He is also know as being the "nicest guy in baseball." He is also known for using an "old-fashioned" windup, in which he swings his arms back prior to going into the full windup. He occasionally swings his arms back twice before pitching, which can disrupt the timing of a batter.

Nicest guy in baseball? I think Sean Casey would like to argue that point. But does anyone have dibs for spot No. 2? Well, Byrd and Casey can duke it out. A lot of super-sweet old guys that have been on this Sox team, huh?

Old-fashioned windup is right. The whole waggle thing with his arms enchants me. I think that's why the Blue Jays were so stumped yesterday. No, it wasn't because their offense is anchored by Kevin Millar. It was because they got lost in "the swings." Poor, Jays. How devious from Mr. Byrd.

More good info: Byrd pitched at Louisiana State University. For those with ADD (abbreviation disorder ... disorder), that'd be "LSU." The Tigers won the College World Series in 1991 and, with a quick glance, I find that Byrdman did not make the all-tournament team. But studs like Chad Ogea, Kennie Steenstra and Gary Hymel did make the team. Jerks. It's not like any of those guys have a sweet "old-fashioned" windup.

Another jerk named Jason Giambi made that team, too.

What's the word? Byrd's the word. Some quick hit info on our new ace:

  • Drafted in the 4th round in 1991 by the Cleveland Indians.
  • Traded to the Mets and debuted on July 28, 1995.

OK, kill the bullets. I interrupt this presentation with another sidebar trip: I'm curious as to how well that debut actually went. Retrosheet, here I come!

Ouch. Byrd worked two outs, gave up two hits, a run and struck out one. Not the best debut. But hey, who can blame him? He was playing for the Mets (who ended up losing 10-9 to the Pirates. Nice job, Omar!).

(PS: I'm tempted to start going off on Edgardo Alfonzo, because I just saw his name on that '95 Mets lineup, but I will hold back.)

More nuggets on P-Bizzle (I swear, he has to be the most interesting man in baseball. And guess what? It's only going to get better. Much better):

Byrd's career was revived in 2002, when he won 17 games, despite pitching for a Kansas City Royals team that would lose 100 games. On the strength of that season, Byrd developed a cult following of fans known as the Byrd's Nest.

The "Byrd's Nest." While it isn't the most original cult out there, I think it needs revival. I am making the call for the new Byrd's Nest right here, right now. I don't care where, but Fenway Park needs a Byrd's Nest for his next schedule started. Hell, even if he gets sent down to the Gulf Coast League, I say let's start the Byrd's Nest. It's going to bring great mojo at the least.

(I googled "Byrd's Nest" for an image, but found nothing. Unless this is something. I'm not sure yet. From the photos, I can neither confirm or deny Paul Byrd's relation.)

Before Byrd was a Sox last season, he was a Sox killer in 2007. And when I say "killer," I mean, he beat the Sox once. OK, so he might have beat the Sox more that season, but I'm too lazy to look back on the season. But the "killer" part came in the 2007 ALCS.

Ya'll remember when the Sox got down 3-1 to the Indians? Yeah, that was bleak. But Byrd was the guy that beat the Sox in game four to make it a 3-1 series. We have him to blame ... or to thank, because that comeback was sweeeet. But seriously, he beat the Sox up pretty good: 5 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits. Not bad for a Byrd (he was better than that Tim Wakefield guy who gave up 5 runs in 4.2 innings).

Sifting through his Wiki page ... pitching, pitching, pitching ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... wrote a book ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... "past struggles to pornography" ... yadda, yadda, yadda ...

WAIT! WHAT?! BYRD WAS ADDICTED TO PORN?! OH, EM, GEE. THIS GUY JUST GOT 100 PERCENT COOLER. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! PORN! WHO DOES THAT NOWADAYS?!

I could dive deeper into this subject, but I think the bold and italics speaks for themselves.

Next part: scroll up a tad and reread that part about the porn. Can you believe that? Still?

On a less-cool, less-interesting subject, apparently Byrd used to dope:

On October 21, 2007, Byrd was accused of using HGH by the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper accused him of spending $24,850 on HGH and syringes from 2002 to 2005. Byrd defended himself, claiming that he was being treated for a tumor on his pituitary gland, and took the drugs under medical supervision. Subsequent news reports, however, assert that Byrd began taking HGH before any pituitary gland condition was diagnosed and that one of the medical professionals to have prescribed Byrd HGH was a Florida dentist whose dental license had been suspended for fraud and incompetence.

On December 13, 2007, Paul Byrd was cited in the Mitchell Report on illegal use of performance enhancing substances in baseball.

Yeah, yeah. If you ask me, I don't believe it. A guy like that doing steroids? Naaah. Show me another guy with an old-fashioned windup that does 'roids. Can't find one, can you? The "nicest guy in baseball" nor a guy nicknamed "Frasier" would do 'roids. Nah.

There's some other stuff about Byrd floating around the 'net, but I think I touched on the biggest and best. The bottom line: he's the man. He's got a sweet windup, he has a cult and he knows how to make professional ball hitters look foolish. That spells success, right there.

I want to see Byrd continue to mow down batters in September. I want to see if he could possibly crack the postseason roster (domination + injuries = Byrd could be there). I want to see the Byrd's Nest this week and every single appearance he makes. I want to see a new chapter to that book he wrote, Free Byrd.

Now I feel like I know everything about Paul Byrd. Stuff that I wanted to know (nicest guy in baseball?), stuff I didn't really care about (Frasier?) and stuff that I want to know more about (I still can't get over the fact he was addicted to porn. Porn, I say!).

The Byrd's Nest: coming to a ballpark near you!