I know it’s early and a small sample size. But this shout out to Marlon Byrd goes beyond his early season statistics, which are pretty good by the way.

The man plays the game the right way. He seems to be a genuinely decent human being and a teammate who cares about winning.

In short, he is the opposite of the things many of us dislike about recent Cubs teams.

Sure, the fact that Byrd is hitting .341 with six homers and 24 RBI helps. But it’s the way he goes about his business that impresses a cynical, long-time Cubs fan such as myself.

Now, it shouldn’t be a revelation to have a player simply play the game the right way. They make big money, so we should expect it, right?

Well, consider how bad things have been for the Cubs.

Geo Soto finally shows up to camp in shape, but still goes on to provide fans with a suck-fest of a season thus far.

Milton Bradley is inexplicably given three guaranteed years at $30 million and decides he hates playing in Chicago. Apparently, Seattle isn’t much to his liking either.

Alfonso Soriano is paid a king’s ransom, then gets injured and perhaps just as bad, he hops at the plate and in the field. It’s cute when you’re a 40-40 guy—but when you can’t catch a fly ball, it gets old quickly.

Aramis Ramirez suddenly can’t hit or field yet says he doesn’t want or need help.

Carlos Zambrano blows up on and off the field and is currently a middle-relief staple.

So when you see a player like Byrd, you stand up and take notice.

He has never been a great player by any means, and he probably never will be. In fact, many consider him more of a role player.

In fact, 2009 was the first year that Marlon Byrd ever had 500 ABs in a season—or hit more than 10 home runs. He doesn’t steal bases, and has never appeared in the postseason, or been an All-Star.

But he seems to enjoy playing baseball and also seems to like being part of a team. After last season, those are two very welcome sights for Cubs fans.

Look, Byrd isn’t going to the Hall of Fame but he does deserve our appreciation.

And I just wanted to make sure you’ve heard about the Byrd. Everybody knows that the Byrd is the word.

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