Sunday, June 24, 2012
Updated: June 25, 9:43 PM ET
Mets find home for chicken
By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
The New York Mets' new team mascot, "Little Jerry Seinfeld," has found a permanent home.
The chicken will be heading to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., according to a spokesperson for the sanctuary. Lefty reliever Tim Byrdak, who came up with the idea to purchase the chicken and didn't want to see it killed, presented the chicken to Farm Sanctuary media relations specialist Meredith Turner on Sunday. The team also presented Farm Sanctuary with a $500 check to cover living costs for the chicken.
"We're so thrilled that this chicken will get to enjoy his days with the other chickens at Farm Sanctuary," Turner said. "He's a very lucky bird, luckier than the rest of the market and the others who suffer. We couldn't be more thrilled. Tim contacted us and made sure this bird would be able to enjoy the life that all chickens deserve."
Byrdak had a clubhouse attendant buy the chicken in Chinatown for $8 on Friday after Mets closer Frank Francisco created a stir by calling the New York Yankees "chickens."
The bird, which Byrdak named after Kramer's cockfighting chicken on "Seinfeld," ran around the clubhouse during pregame Friday, before Francisco closed out a 6-4 win in the Subway Series opener.
"Frank thought it was funny," Byrdak said. "At first, I told him the Yankees sent it over for him. He had a look of concern on his face. And then he said, 'You bought it.' And I said, 'Yeah, I bought it.' Everyone got a good chuckle out of it. He ran around here for a little bit. And we played the game."
We really didn't think the whole process through of actually having a live chicken and what we were going to do afterwards with him. So we decided we need to find a home for this thing pretty quick because we were going on the road.
-- Mets reliever Tim Byrdak
The chicken spent Friday night in a cage at Citi Field. Team chef Theresa Corderi fed the bird a meal of oatmeal, berries and bread after doing research into the appropriate cuisine on the Internet. She tweeted pictures of the chicken and made it known Sunday the chicken had a new home.
"Little Jerry going from the fryer to the farm, a reverse trip for most. Thanks to @FarmSanctuary. You guys are awesome," Corderi tweeted.
Farm Sanctuary first heard about the chicken after being contacted by a reporter, and then let it be known that it would love to provide a home for the chicken. Turner said the Mets' public relations staff contacted the sanctuary to let it know Byrdak wished to send Little Jerry Seinfeld to Farm Sanctuary. She added that the team is free to come visit its mascot anytime it pleases.
"The whole team rallied behind this, they're the ones who want to see this happen and were pushing for him to go to the sanctuary," Turner said. "They got to know this chicken as an individual, and when people get to know chickens firsthand, they know what Farm Sanctuary has known for years, that chickens are intelligent, charming animals with their own personalities.
"That's what the Mets players found out. They couldn't imagine the idea of this chicken being killed after getting to know him. He became their pal. We're so happy they contacted us."
A woman by the name of Susanna reached out to Byrdak on Twitter and told him to contact the Farm Sanctuary.
"We really didn't think the whole process through of actually having a live chicken and what we were going to do afterwards with him," Byrdak said. "So we decided we need to find a home for this thing pretty quick because we were going on the road."
Byrdak did, and the Farm Sanctuary was open to giving Little Jerry Seinfeld a new home.
"He avoids the fryer and the oven and everything else you can cook a chicken with," Byrdak said. "The power of social media saved a bird's life today."
Has Byrdak learned anything from this experience?
"Always plan ahead when you're going to get an animal," Byrdak said. "Make sure you have someone to take care of it after you don't need it anymore really to make some kind of home for him."
Little Jerry Seinfeld also spent Saturday night comfortably at Citi Field. Will Byrdak ever pay Little Jerry Seinfeld a visit?
"We're hopefully gonna have a webcam set up so people can take a look at Little Jerry all the time," Byrdak said. "He's a celebrity now."
Will Little Jerry Seinfeld become the Mets' version of the Cardinals' Rally Squirrel?
"You better believe it," Byrdak said.
After the Mets rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the Yankees in Sunday's Subway Series finale, actor Jerry Seinfeld tweeted, "Yes! @mets #rallychicken comes through!!" The Mets, however, went on to lose 6-5.
Byrdak said the Mets plan to get a rubber chicken to replace Little Jerry Seinfeld when he leaves.
"We have another chicken that will fill in for Jerry Seinfeld as he goes off to the Farm Sanctuary. We have a replacement that doesn't need to be fed and watered and poop cleaned up afterward."
Francisco, the catalyst for the purchase of the chicken, joked that he was planning to make some chicken noodle soup, before adding that he has a chicken farm in the Dominican Republic. Though he offered no proof, Francisco claimed there are videos on the Internet of his farm.
Matt Ehalt is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin and Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.
|Outside the team clubhouse Sunday, Mets pitcher Tim Byrdak gave the chicken he bought as a practical joke to the Farm Sanctuary of Watkins Glen, N.Y.|