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Wile E. Coyote doesn’t seem to understand. ACME Glue doesn’t slow the Roadrunner down. Cornering the Roadrunner near the side of the cliff will, guaranteed, end with a plummeting ball of brown fur. Wile E. Coyote never wins.
Seth Bynum played 447 games in the Nationals’ minor-league system from 2004 through April 13th of 2009. None of those games came above the Double-A level. Bynum only drove in more than 40 runs in a season once. He was a modern-day barnstormer; Bynum never spent a full season with any team in the Nationals’ chain.
“You always have that doubt that they don’t have your back, they’re not thinking about you, they don’t think you can play a position,” Bynum said recently from the visitors’ dugout in Buffalo. “But, you’ve got to stay humble and leave the other stuff to them.”
Bynum, then simply a shortstop, spent the first four seasons of his pro career behind current National Ian Desmond. But, when Desmond broke the hammate bone in his left hand in 2008, Bynum had evidence the Nationals were behind him.
“One of the happier days I had was in Double-A (Harrisburg),” Bynum said. “I was playing well. I knew Desi was coming back and they said they wanted to keep me and put me at second.”
The transition paid off. The next season, Bynum rose to Syracuse where he made the Triple-A All-Star game as the everyday second baseman for the Chiefs. He played in 134 games; Bynum was the second baseman in 123 of them.
(photo courtesy of Jim McGregor)
The next year, though, Bynum was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine. This season, Bynum missed 47 more games. Bynum broke his thumb sprawling for a ball in a game with Rochester on May 1st.
“It was one of those plays where I extended my hand first then it took a little short hop and I had to bring it in toward my body,” Bynum said. That’s when my thumb clipped the ground and came back on me a little bit. It felt like a real big jam. I couldn’t comprehend what happened at the time.”
Bynum came back on June 24th and has a hit in all but two of his starts since. Before his return, the 30-year-old Bynum went on a rehab assignment with the Auburn Doubledays, the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Nationals. The 30-year-old Bynum had six hits in 22 at-bats. His first was a home run against a 22-year-old named Patrick Daughtery who was making his 27th appearance in pro ball.
“It’s awesome seeing these college kids coming to professional ball for the first time,” Bynum said of his time with Auburn. “Getting their first hit…it’s corny, but I like seeing that.”
Soon, Seth Bynum will have a memorable moment of his own. He and his wife Jen are due to have their first child this Christmas. They were married this offseason in Louisville. It’s a union that may never have happened without Bynum’s persistence.
“We were broke up for seven years and we got back together,” Bynum said. We were high school sweethearts. I was a junior, she was a sophomore. We got back together in ’07. Her identical twin sister Stephanie is married to my best friend, Ricky Gibson. I kept close ties to her through them. We never talked but I knew where she was at and what she was doing. I think I am ten million times a better human being with her.”
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