A rambling thought on Jeff Francoeur that includes a clumsy analogy
The Kansas City Star
See here, this is proof they didn’t fire me. Just took a week off, and other than a great restaurant on the Plaza disappearing in a tragic explosion and the first part of what is apparently a two-part snow monsoon, what’d I miss?
I’m sure we’ll cover a lot of topics^ in tomorrow’s Twitter Tuesday^^ — lines are now open! — but the one local point I wanted to get to today revolves around Dutton’s story about Jeff Francoeur.
*^ Like the Alex Smith rumors, or KU’s resurgence, or Mizzou’s continued inconsistency, or K-State’s steadiness, or, probably, a bunch of other nonsense.
^^ You may’ve seen where my friend Rany Jazayerli is starting a weekly Twitter mailbag. This is, obviously, a popular feature — no offense to Rany, but Dutton’s daily Q&A is the best there is for Royals info. Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune is among many others to do something like this on various topics, and inevitably, people will act like I should feel copyright infringement. Guys, I appreciate the love, but it’s not rocket science. I’m fairly certain I wasn’t the first to put two and two together. I just might be the one who uses the most words doing it.*
So, first of all, the story about his wife and the burgers is hilarious. Worth the click just for that.
Also, the whole article shows why everyone who knows Francoeur — teammates, coaches, scouts, executives, and yes, media — likes him. He is honest, funny, self-deprecating, confident but realistic, generous with his time and money, and always seems to be smiling. You get the feeling he never loses touch about exactly how lucky he is to be doing what he’s doing.
That sounds like a simple thing, but it absolutely is not. My brain is probably still on vacation, but I was thinking about this…we had a week on the beach. Absolutely beautiful. Ocean waves crashing, white powdery sand, waitresses bringing Coronas and margaritas, the whole bit. The first day or so, you can’t take your eyes off the water. It’s incredible, a bit like paradise. Well, anyway, eventually you fall asleep. Or read a book. Or go inside to do…something. You’re still thrilled to be there, but the novelty wears off a bit and the ocean becomes background noise until you look up after an hour or so.
I know this is a bit of a clumsy analogy, but in Jeff Francoeur’s world, you just get the feeling he never takes his eyes off the waves. And that’s a pretty cool thing.
The problem, of course, is that Francoeur really was the worst everyday player in baseball last year.
He seems to think the main problem was physical, and by all accounts he’s in terrific shape. He also has a contact problem — more than three times as many strikeouts as walks both in his career and since joining the Royals — which seems to feed a lot of his struggles at the plate.
Anyway, on the list of things that need to go right for the Royals this year, Francoeur being closer to his .285/.329/.476 self of 2011 is fairly high. To his credit, Francoeur is fully aware of this and ready to be held accountable.
There will be a lot of people around him hoping for the best.