As I always said, Marlon Byrd was about the best character player you could ask for. He supported his teammates, he interacted with the fans, he was a leader in the clubhouse, and he offered good quotes. His departure, while necessary and welcomed, was sad. I liked Marlon Byrd.

And, even now that he’s gone, he’s still saying great things about the Cubs.

“I knew I was going to be traded,” Byrd told Bruce Levine of the move last weekend. “Brett Jackson is the future there, but I didn’t know when. I didn’t think it would be in April, but there was a need for me over here. I almost had to apologize to them for starting so slow. They should have been able to get more for me.”

I mean, that’s a pretty incredible attitude to have when you were just dumped.

Byrd also went on to guess that the Cubs would be a good team annually by 2014, and was gracious about, and complimentary of, the leadership that decided it no longer wanted him on the team.

“My family loved it here. They made great friends as did I on and off the field,” Byrd said. “I loved the organization and the Ricketts. We are close to them. I love the Ricketts. This is a business, and it was time to move on.

“The leadership right now has to come from the veterans like Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster. I‘m assuming that Theo [Epstein] is going to get his base off young guys and then bring in some older veterans like he did here in Boston. You do have to have veterans because they are the only players who know about leadership.”

I can’t help but feel that Byrd is going to be quietly rooting for the Cubs from afar, and I’m going to have a hard time not rooting for him from afar right back. He’s already off to a good start with his new team, with five hits in his first 17 at bats.

Then again, on that “rooting for him thing,” he’s playing for the Red Sox, so…



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