"I'm sure going from 90 mile-per-hour fastballs to slow softballs takes time," said opposing pitcher Chris Quinn.
This morning, we reported that former Oakland A's fan favorite Eric Byrnes, just days after being cut off the Seattle Mariners, was playing beer-league softball here in the Bay Area.
But it hasn't been all play and no work for the young retiree. Byrnes was spotted hawking houseware at a San Carlos store, chatting with customers apparently blissfully unaware that the tall, blond man selling them a mattress or end table was, at that very moment, still earning $11 million a year. That would certainly make the Peninsula native one of the better-paid furniture salesmen of all time.
"People love him down here. He's the best. He brings me coffee all the time," says Byrnes' "boss," Patrick Peavey of Home Plate Furnishings in San Carlos. Peavey -- a longtime Byrnes buddy and a former minor-league ballplayer in the Houston Astros chain -- estimates that half his customers don't realize who Byrnes is when he's serving as their salesman. In fact, Byrnes would drop in and sell furniture even in the days he was still playing Big League ball.
Byrnes' transition from baseball to slow-pitch softball didn't go quite as smoothly as his furniture-selling gig. Starting in left-center field Wednesday night and batting cleanup for "Dutch Goose," he went 1-for-3 against the Courson Company softball team. But he sure did sparkle in the field.