Marlon Byrd chats online with fans
Rangers outfielder answers a variety of questions
Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd participated in a live Web chat with fans on Friday and fielded questions on this weekend's important series with Boston, the club's playoff chances and the "Byrd" dance he has inspired among Rangers fans.
Tommy13878: What's the mind-set of the team going into a three-game series with Boston only a 1/2 game back in the Wild Card?
Marlon Byrd: It's a huge series for us. This is a chance to really gain some ground in the Wild Card race and the American League West
garcia32: Do you think the Rangers are going to win the division or the Wild Card?
Marlon Byrd: I believe we'll win the West. We can't concentrate on winning the Wild Card because there are too many teams that are fighting for that spot in the playoff race.
jerryst316: Hello Marlon. I actually have two questions. First, to what would you attribute this team's offensive struggles this year, and how much has [hitting coach] Rudy [Jaramillo] helped or hindered some batters' efforts at the plate? Second, do you see yourself with this team after this season?
Marlon Byrd: The team has struggled this year because we have a much younger team and all the other teams have made adjustments against us and we haven't made the adjustments needed. Rudy has done nothing but help this club. He is by far the best hitting coach in baseball and there's not one baseball mind that questions that.
Marlon Byrd: Second question, I see myself being back with the team next year, if the Rangers want me back.
blakeyd33: Who is your favorite player to be on the road with?
Marlon Byrd: I hang out with Andruw Jones a lot.
rocko34: Your constant hustle on the field is inspiring and I hope contagious to other Rangers. Do you hope to secure a long-term contract with the club after this season?
Marlon Byrd: Simple answer, I hope to be with this team for a while. We'll have to see what happens during the offseason.
rocko34: Which outfield position do you enjoy playing most?
Marlon Byrd: As long as I'm in the lineup, I don't care what position I'm in in the outfield. I'll continue to see which way the team needs to use me and I think that's why I'm a good fit on this team, because I can play all three.
fandevin: Marlon, do you think y'all will make the playoffs?
Marlon Byrd: Definitely. There's no doubt in my mind that we'll make the push to be in the playoffs the rest of the season.
burbur8: Do you like when the crowd does "The Byrd"? Do you wish more people would participate?
Marlon Byrd: Absolutely love it. It's gets me very excited when I look in the stands and see people doing the "Byrd".
Goat: Marlon, first let me say your leadership shows and the fans notice. Now, could you fill us in on how you would approach Neftali Feliz in an at-bat since there really isn't a book on him?
Marlon Byrd: The way I would approach an at-bat against Feliz is to just try to put the bat on the ball. When the new guy comes up throwing as hard as he does, throwing a great curveball and splitter, you really have to focus and hope he misses his spot. If not, most likely, strike three.
HamBomb: We have seen Josh Hamilton starting to come back to "form" recently. What do you attribute that to? Is it recovery from his injuries? A different mind-set?
Marlon Byrd: I attribute it to him working hard and not giving up. Every day he works with Rudy and he's starting to believe in himself.
cparis55: Have you always been No. 22, and why did you choose that number?
Marlon Byrd: When I came over to the Rangers, I was going to be No. 21 and we ended up signing Sammy Sosa, so they gave me No. 22. I've had four different numbers in the big leagues, so a number doesn't really matter to me.
blakeyd33: Who's the toughest pitcher you've ever faced?
Marlon Byrd: Before this year, I would have said John Smoltz. However, we faced a reliever from the Angels with the last name of Jepsen and, as of now, he's the toughest for me.
junior1981: Who did you look up to in Major League Baseball when you were a kid growing up?
Marlon Byrd: Dale Murphy. I grew up in Atlanta and he was my favorite player of all time.
garcia32: What has made you a better player this season than last season?
Marlon Byrd: I believe our coaching staff as a lot to do with me being a better player. Gary Pettis, our outfield coach, has taught me a lot of things I didn't know about outfield play and Jaramillo has done an unbelievable job at making me a better hitter over the past three years.
cparis55: How fast can you run the 40, or the 60?
Marlon Byrd: 40 in college was a 4.5, which probably makes me a 4.7 now. And my 60 time when I was drafted was a 6.4, which makes me about 6.7 now.
rocko34: How did the outfielder "celebration" after a victory originate?
Marlon Byrd: Nelson Cruz came up last year from Triple-A and was excited to be back in the big leagues. After one game, he jumped up to celebrate and it grew from there.
Marlon Byrd: Gotta get ready for the game ... sorry to have to cut it short. Boston's a big team and I need to focus.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.