NEW YORK (AP) — Tim Byrdak and the New York Mets just gave new meaning to baseball's farm system.
Thanks to the Mets' wacky reliever and a successful Twitter search, the most famous chicken in New York is headed to its new home. And surely, "Little Jerry Seinfeld" will be much more comfortable on a farm upstate than it was in the clubhouse at Citi Field.
All the fun started last week, when Mets closer Frank Francisco called the Yankees "chickens." Of course, that made for cartoonish tabloid headlines in the Big Apple leading up to the Subway Series.
As a prank, Byrdak, the Mets' resident joker, brought a live chicken into the clubhouse Friday, clucking up his teammates. The pitcher even posted a close-up video on Twitter of a chicken bobbing around on the carpet.
Byrdak said the chicken, which he named after the funny-looking bird that stole the show on an episode of "Seinfeld," spent a couple of days eating oatmeal and resting comfortably at the ballpark.
But then he realized he had to find it a new home. So a Twitter search put him in touch with the Farm Sanctuary of Watkins Glen, N.Y., which sent a representative to Citi Field on Sunday to take the celebrity chicken in a salient exchange that sent the New York press corps scrambling to document an undoubtedly transcendent moment about two hours before the game.
"The power of social media saved a bird's life today," Byrdak deadpanned.
Francisco explained Friday what he meant by his odd comment, saying he thinks the Yankees often protest calls by the umpires — especially balls and strikes. He said he was excited to have a chance to strike out the side against them.
For their part, the Yankees seemed pretty confused by the whole chicken dance all weekend. Confused, and disinterested.
Not so the Mets.
"I did my best to stay out of the clubhouse yesterday when they were trying to pull the gag on Frankie. It was pretty funny," manager Terry Collins said Saturday, shaking his head and chuckling. "It keeps the clubhouse loose in certainly an intense situation."
Byrdak, of course, attributed his team's five-run first inning Friday night to its new good-luck charm. Francisco might not feel the same way — after saving the series opener, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained muscle on his left side.
Earlier in the day, Byrdak acknowledged there was a lesson to be learned from his chicken conundrum: "Always think ahead if you're going to get an animal."