4/30 Byrd & the birds

Marlon Byrd wasn’t thrilled about sitting Friday against the Diamondbacks but he was called on to pinch-hit in the seventh and delivered. Byrd hit a single in the seventh, then launched his fourth home run in the eighth, a towering shot that cleared the left field bleachers and nearly hit a building across Waveland Avenue that advertises, “Hit me, 1 Fan, $1 million.”

“I thought he was going to win that million dollars,” Lou Piniella said after the Cubs’ 11-5 win over the D-Backs.

“I just want to be in there every single day,” Byrd said. “[Piniella] understands that. I’m always ready. I told him, ‘Whenever you need me, let me know.’ I got ready in the fifth. I ended up having a pretty good one.”

He’s learned from past teammates Ricky Ledee and Carlos Baerga about how to prepare for coming off the bench.

“You have to know how to get ready,” Byrd said.

What Byrd wasn’t quite prepared for was the arrival in late innings of the seagulls that circle Wrigley Field, looking for seed and water.

“That’s crazy,” Byrd said of the flock of white birds that settled in front of him in the ninth. “[Derrek Lee] told me, he said, ‘They know.’ Eighth, ninth innings, they come out automatically. Hopefully, when we have a ‘W’ they’re there a lot more.”

Byrd didn’t shoo them away.

“I’ll give them their spot,” he said. “They were here before I was.”

— Carrie Muskat

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