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Losing father made training therapy for former big leaguer

For 13 years Eric Byrnes's life was shaped by professional baseball. What to eat. When to report. How to handle failure. How to exercise. What to avoid. What to embrace. It had almost as many daily details attached to it as a presidential schedule.

And then, poof, it was gone. On May 2, 2010, the Seattle Mariners released Byrnes. Thank you for your service and there's the door to the rest of your life. His days were free of structure, and Byrnes embraced the openness of it.

Eric Byrnes

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"I surfed and played some golf and softball," Byrnes said. He saw moonrises and sunsets and all his friends said the same thing: Dude, chill, you got it all.

Live the casual life. That would be fine except Byrnes doesn't do casual very well.

Byrnes got the nickname "Crash Test Dummy" for his lack of fear chasing fly balls in the outfield in the 11 years he played for the A's, Rockies, Orioles, Diamondbacks and Mariners. He bounced off walls with reckless enthusiasm and the fans loved him for it.


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