"There's nothing I can do about it, so I take it as a compliment," Byrnes said. "I want to be in Oakland. I'm from here. I live here. I want to stay here. I don't know if there's any validity to the rumors."
The second question to general manager Billy Beane on Saturday came from an elderly lady who said, "We all want to know are we going to keep Byrnes?" and a hearty cheer went up immediately.
"We all appreciate the passion and production that Eric bring to the table," Beane answered. "That he's still here is indicative of what we think of him. When there's a lot of speculation in the paper, it's because a lot of teams like him as well. The fact of the matter is, he's still an A."
Byrnes was given the loudest ovation of any A's player and stole the show during a hilarious Q&A with teammates Nick Swisher, Scott Hatteberg, Mark Kotsay and Jason Kendall to end the day.
Upon request, Byrnes gave one fan a hug and posed for photos with another who said it was her last wish before moving to Arizona.
When somebody asked how to get out of a slump, Byrnes, who once endured a 9-for-95 slide, tried to avoid the topic at first. He later said the worst thing to do is try harder and that "in the world of Byrnes, the best way to get out of a slump is to not care."
RICKEY ON 'ROIDS: Legendary Rickey Henderson was in attendance and reiterated to reporters he's not retired, still hoping for an invite to spring training from some team, preferably the A's, and he'll go to Mexico or any other organized league to keep playing.
When asked about the steroid allegations by former teammate Jose Canseco in an upcoming book that points the finger at Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi, Henderson was one of the few former teammates who didn't bash Canseco.
"I don't know what happened," Henderson said. "I didn't get involved in that situation. I don't know what players did to make themselves better. I thought it was all about work habits. Is Jose telling the truth? I don't think Jose has anything to lie about. I don't see why he would be lying.
"If the truth hurts, or is coming out ... I can't say everything he's saying in the book is true. I haven't read the book yet. But until I read it completely, I would say he's not telling a lie. Because he said, 'I did it.' Wait a minute. If I can tell on myself, I can tell on everybody, right?"
GOLD GLOVE TEACHER: Another funny moment in the Q&A came when Eric Chavez was praising Ron Washington for his work that has helped him win four Gold Gloves.
"I played with Wash," interrupted Beane. "He had bricks for hands. He's a great coach and a great teacher. He could hit. But he was brutal in the field."
Chavez retorted, "I'll stand up for Wash. Let's talk about your career Billy."
ONE-HOPPERS: Former A's great Dave Stewart, now an agent based in San Diego, volunteered to help in securing a new baseball-only facility for the A's. ... The Cubs might be interested in A's closer Octavio Dotel, but Beane told the audience it's "totally false" that the A's are willing to trade him. ... Mark Kotsay, who drove the 31/2 hours after his flight from Reno was canceled, was given an "Oakland LF Bleachers" shirt by a couple fans and proudly said he'd wear it under his jersey.