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Jeff Francoeur already has Kansas City media under his spell

Dec 14, 2010, 2:53 PM EDT

jeff francoeur royals presser

It’s been less than a week since Jeff Francoeur signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Royals, but he predictably already has local media members in Kansas City writing the same type of overly glowing prose and outright fluff about him that became commonplace in Atlanta and New York.

Yesterday the Royals held a press conference to introduce Francoeur, after which Terez Paylor wrote the following introduction to an article in the Kansas City Star:

With a smile on his face and a brand-new No. 21 home jersey on his back, the newest Kansas City Royal plopped into a chair next to general manager Dayton Moore and proceeded to field questions from reporters Monday. Five minutes in–and several laughs later–one thing about Jeff Francoeur became perfectly clear: He does not lack personality, enthusiasm or (most important) hope about the future.

Seriously. Here’s a little more from the same article:

These are the positive things that players typically say during introductory news conferences, especially when it’s the offseason and it’s the Royals. But as Francoeur talked on this day, it’s hard not to believe him or Moore when they insist that better times are ahead.

Seriously. When it comes to people to trust “when they insist that better times are ahead” Dayton Moore and Jeff Francoeur would be pretty close to the bottom of my list, since one is a mistake-prone general manager of a consistently horrendous team and the other is an exceptionally overrated player who has the lowest OPS in baseball among all corner outfielders during the past three seasons. But hey, that’s just me.

Paylor goes on to make passing mention of Francoeur’s terrible on-base percentage, but mostly just brushes it aside because, after all, he “was once considered to be one of the best prospects in baseball.” As if that’s at all relevant for a 27-year-old with more than 3,400 plate appearances under his belt.

Francoeur is far from the worst player in baseball–although he ranks up there when teams insist on playing him every day–but the real source of the mockery he receives from folks like me is that the media members covering him on a daily basis can’t seem to avoid getting caught up in his sparkling personality and ability to give them good quotes. He’s a career .268/.310/.425 hitter who managed only a modest one-year deal to sign with his fourth team in seven years, yet the focus always seems to be on anything but his performance.

That must be one hell of a smile.

  1. The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Dec 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    I’m sorry, Aaron, were you talking about something? I was lost in that picture.

  2. mcsnide - Dec 14, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Did Calcaterra pass out from all the Cliff Lee stuff or something? I thought he had dibs on all Frenchy stories.

    • Detroit Michael - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:06 PM

      +1. My thought exactly: Aaron is invading Craig’s virtual turf!

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:33 PM

        Awaiting HBT Smackdown!!!!!

  3. JBerardi - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Who’s Francoeur’s agent, Karl Rove? The anti-reality bubble that surrounds this guy is astounding.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM

      Glenn Beck.

      • JBerardi - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM

        Well, Ned Yost probably will be compared to Hitler if he benches him…

      • mcsnide - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:42 PM

        I think Ned Yost’s best comparison is Ed Smith.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:47 PM

        If Jeff’s agent was Glenn Beck, I’d imagine hr would talk about all the difference he’ll make in childrens’ lives while publicly mocking anyone who’s not a current Royal.

    • atlsportsfan - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:11 PM

      Career Sports and Entertainment, or CSE is his agent (along with Jason Heyward, Freddy Freeman, and others).

  4. BC - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Aw man, why did he shave the beard?

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

      Damn autorefresh—I replied to this, but as I was writing, it refreshed, thereby posting it as a new comment below:

      To look less like a cannibal looking to pounce on his first meal in months…? Dude looked as much like a psycho as that Frisco Beach Boy—only slightly more controlled.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:48 PM

        It’s hilarious you say that – my girlfriend and I were watching all the playoffs and every time she saw Frenchy she grimaced and called him a serial killer.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:46 PM

        HA!!! That’s the controlled part. Wilson looks more carefree—would that make him more the spree type?

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:58 PM

      He had an “accident” and had to cut off his beard to make a Merkin from it. I hear it matches quite well….

  5. stealofhome - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    First of all, DM and Frenchy would be on the top of my list of people to trust “when they insist that better times are ahead”. Things can’t get worse for either of them, right?

    Second of all, with all of this talk about how good Frenchy is with the media and how good of a guy he is, I have yet to actually hear a quote from him besides the OBP on the scoreboard one. I haven’t seen a picture of him rescuing a kitty from a tree. I haven’t heard of a scholarship fund that he has set up to help under-privileged kids get into the college of their dreams. I haven’t seen any real proof that he actually is this wonderful guy besides what is in media reports. I’m not saying he isn’t a great guy, because despite how little there may be to write about in the baseball world some days, I doubt that there is a widespread Jeff Francoeur Nice Guy Conspiracy. Maybe there is. Maybe they meet in the basement at the Winter Meetings and decide who will write the “Jeff Francoeur is such a great guy” articles this coming year.

    Anyways, my whole point is that I totally don’t get it.

    Also, http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm9/cs810/motivatorf86c5c4b728d2d8a6bfe38704dcdc8d590b90883.jpg

  6. Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    To look less like a cannibal looking to pounce on his first meal in months…? Dude looked as much like a psycho as that Frisco Beach Boy—only slightly more controlled.

  7. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Six-Degrees-of-Cliff-Lee:

    1. Francoeur once played for the Atlanta Braves.
    2. The 90′s Atlanta Braves pitching staff(s) has very recently been used as a comparison to Philly’s recently improved pitching staff.
    3. The newest member of Philly’s aforementioned staff, of course, is Cliff Lee.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:21 PM

      —Frenchie once played for the Atlanta Braves.
      —The Atlanta Braves signed Eric Hinske.
      —Eric Hinske struck out to end the 2008 World Series, which the Phightins won.
      —Cliffy is a once and again Phil-Lee.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:28 PM

        You know what’s really fun? Posting Six-Degrees-of-Cliff Lee comments in non-baseball news sites about random stuff. For instance, I’m reading a NYT article on the Chinese takeover of the production of wind turbines. Now I’ll see if I can CliffLee-ize that story in six steps or less…

      • mcsnide - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:36 PM

        China is next to India.
        The Pittsburgh Pirates once signed two Indian guys as pitchers as a reality TV stunt.
        Lyle Overbay just signed a FA deal with the Pirates.
        Lyle Overbay and Roy Halladay were teammates in Toronto.
        Roy Halladay is a member of the Phillies.
        The Phillies just signed Cliff Lee.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:43 PM

        Well played, mcsnide. Well played.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:57 PM

        Dingdingdingdingding!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:19 PM

        I’m not even going to mess with this with Mcsnide around.. Damn, that boy good. In my best Coming to America “barber” voice.

  8. pwf207 - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    because if you focused on the likely performance of either Francoeur or the Royals next season, you’d be writing a piece that would be more than a little depressing and unlikely to cause future eyeballs to pass over the sports section of Kansas City Star or through the gates at Kaufman Stadium. As usual, follow the money and you find the answer.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:56 PM

      Frenchy will be an awesome player. But only on the Royals. Other teams consider him a bench player.

  9. dondbaseball - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    While I agree with everything on these posts (hilarious stuff truly!), I am reminded that there was a Sheffield post out there and given the choice of Jeff or Gary, I would probably take Jeff even though his OPS would be below Gary’s but his WAR would probably be above. Why is it we never take the knuckleheads to task as openly as we criticize the bad player good guy? I mean the bad player is trying to improve his skill set but can’t while he at least is nice to deal with whereas the declining but nasty attitude guy doesn’t even try to change his tune. Keep the yuks coming…

  10. normswifevera - Dec 14, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    You know, I might give Moore a chance when he talks about good times being ahead, since in a matter of years he’s put together what is far and away the best farm system in baseball.

    But hey, that’s just me.

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