CHICAGO - Eric Byrnes, baseball fan, loves the mystique and lore surrounding the most venerable stadiums in the major leagues — Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.
Eric Byrnes, baseball player, wishes modern cushioning technology could find its way to the at times decidedly unfriendly confines.
It appeared as if Byrnes was going to pull a “Field of Dreams” — disappear into the greenery — when he crashed into the ivy-covered brick wall while chasing a John Mabry double to right-center Tuesday.
Byrnes remained entwined in the ivy for a few seconds before pulling free.
“I’m surprised they can’t find a way to put a padded wall behind the ivy and in front of the brick,’’ Byrnes said. “I was actually surprised what little support the ivy has, and I didn’t even hit it hard.
“The brick and the ivy have been here longer than me. I’m sure they’ll be here longer after me. It’s their gig out here. They do whatever they want. I’ll adapt for four games.’’
Wrigley is especially dangerous for an outfielder like Byrnes, who describes his technique as “attacking the ball.’’
“I love the idea of the traditional ballpark. At the same time, that’s dangerous out there,’’ he said.
Fenway, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley are “by far my three most favorite places to play, regardless if I should probably wear my helmet in the outfield’’ at Wrigley.
KEEPING THE FAITH
No one was more appreciative of 25th man Andy Green’s two-run pinch double Monday than manager Bob Melvin, who said he understands that role well after living it at times in his 10-year major league career.
Green is hitting .217 in 69 at-bats, 41 as a pinch hitter. He has made six starts, four in left field and one each at second base and designated hitter.
“My goal here is to do the best I can in the role I’m in,” Green said, “to not be a distraction and follow ‘Bo Mel’s’ authority and leadership. He’s never sugar-coated it to me.
“It’s not the role you dream about as a kid, but it’s a role that is necessary on every major league team. If I’m the guy that can plug the most holes . . . I know I’m capable of more when the opportunity comes.’’
Melvin: “He continues to work his butt off and keep himself ready for situations like that.’’
Green, the Pacific Coast League MVP last season, also is the D-Backs’ emergency catcher, and was never closer to going behind the plate Monday, when Johnny Estrada left after three innings, forcing backup Chris Snyder into the game.
“It’s not a position I grew up playing, but I could get the job done,” said Green, who often warms up pitchers between innings and also has caught in the bullpen to gain familiarity with the position.
Tony Clark (right shoulder) could have come off the disabled list Tuesday but is at least two weeks away, Melvin said.