Still, they had to try something against the New York Yankees, who had taken four consecutive series since May 2010 from their crosstown rivals. That’s why Mets reliever Frank Francisco called the Yankees “chickens” and earned a New York Post “Cluck You” headline (with a photo illustration of Derek Jeter's head attached to the body of a chicken) page heading into their weekend series.
Tim “Byrdie” Byrdak took it a step further and brought an actual, living, breathing chicken, dubbed Little Jerry Seinfeld after Cosmo Kramer’s cockfighting rooster on “Seinfeld,” into the Mets’ clubhouse. According to Byrdak, they originally called the chicken Little Derek Jeter.
By either name, it didn’t work. The Yankees won the series and are 5-1 against the Mets this season. Francisco was placed on the 15-day disabled list. “Not too bad for a bunch of chickens,” Yankees outfield Nick Swisher clucked.
After the series, Little Jerry learned that he was being sent to the farm team at Watkins Glen, N.Y. The Mets kicked in $500 to help with his care at a place called the Farm Sanctuary and sent him off with a big press conference that at first flustered the little dude. Dudette. Whatever.
“Holy cow, Little Jerry! Don’t freak out!” Byrdak said as photographers closed in.
He admitted that he didn’t really consider the repercussions of having a live animal in the clubhouse and “what we were going to do afterwards with him.” In the future, he’ll stick with baseball’s traditional rubber chicken.
“We actually have another chicken, but he’s not a real chicken,” Byrdak said. “He could be in the bullpen or in someone’s locker. We have a replacement that does not need to be fed and watered and have their poop cleaned up after them.”