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Jeff Francoeur is the finest man in all of baseball

Jan 27, 2012, 1:28 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Getty Images

No, I’m not being sarcastic. I have seen the freakin’ light. Read on.

Everyone knows that I have a long history of allowing Jeff Francoeur — or, rather, the idea of Jeff Francoeur — drive me crazy.  I never liked his game. I mocked the claims of his surrogates in the media that he was better than we thought.  I was highly skeptical that he’d ever match his lofty reputation, etc. etc.

Last year, you may recall, I met Jeff Francoeur and discovered that … he was a great guy. Like, super nice.  It made me rethink the whole idea of how and why we rip players and what it all means.  And then he went and had a really spiffy season in Kansas City, thereby rendering most of my Francouer whining moot.  Yeah, at the end of the year he got a new contract that was probably too big, but at this point Francoeur has earned the benefit of the doubt with me. I have no standing to get on him for a very long time, truth be told.

Way less so now that I read this story by Bojan Koprivica over at The Hardball Times in which Francoeur gave opposing fans $100 and an autographed baseball with explicit instructions on it to use the money to purchase bacon dogs and beer.

Yes. It’s true. Go read it. And then tell me that Jeff Francouer isn’t the finest sonofabitch who ever put on a major league uniform.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    You and Jeff are going to make a wonderful couple, Craig.

    • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Craig, relax for a bit and let me carry this cross for you, OK?

      Jeff Francouer is an overpaid, overrated, overexposed mediocrity with no plate discipline and a terrific press agent.

      There. I said it, so you don’t have to.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Craig is clearly trying to get in the best shape of Frenchy’s life.

    • rickditka - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      Very nicely played, Jason.

  3. pappymax - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Mmm. Bacon dog, had one in Mexico once. Have they arrived at US ballparks?

    • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      They serve them in France, big hot dogs on big crusty rolls with great mustard, thick juicy bacon and real French melted cheese. Oh, Buddha…forgive me for eating the flesh of the swine and the bovine….

      • aceshigh11 - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        Good Darwin in non-heaven…that sounds amazing.

      • nolanwiffle - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM

        Flesh of the bovine? You don’t truly believe there’s any actual meat in those things, do you? Which isn’t to say that they aren’t delicious.

      • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM

        Oh it is. I was standing in the door of my hotel waiting for a taxi – this was decades ago, of course – when an old man pushed a cart of these things past me. The smell was maddening. I had just had a foie gras sauteed with apples and onions and a bowle of moules menuiere in a wine and garlic sauce and really thought I was already in heaven when this thing showed up. I figured I didn’t get to Paris all that often so what the hell….like I said, I wouldn’t want the Tathāgata to remonstrate with me about eating meat but, man….three days later I had an even better one in the park near Chartres Cathedral. Kama Sutra for the lingual papillae.

  4. unlost1 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    man crush. don’t need to read about it.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      Uptight jackass comment. Don’t need to read that either.

  5. mcsnide - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I don’t know which is better, the bacon-dog story, or the play referenced at the end of the tale. Video here: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_09_07_kcamlb_oakmlb_1&mode=wrap&c_id=mlb#gid=2011_09_07_kcamlb_oakmlb_1&mode=video

    God, I’m ready for some baseball.

    • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Yeah, me too. Enough of this pointless rest and relaxation. If you aren’t going to climb Kilimanjaro to benefit disenfranchised youth, get your overpaid asses back out on that field and thrill and/or embarrass us, will you?

  6. shaggylocks - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Hasn’t this story taught you anything, Craig? If you heckle Frenchy, he gives you money! And you’re going to stop heckling Frenchy now?

    Pshh. You don’t deserve a bacon dog.

  7. yettyskills - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Jeff Francouer is a really nice guy to start the season, he is polite, funny, entertaining, goes to church weekly, but by mid-season he is just like all the rest, and in the second half you would be better off making new friends.

    • yettyskills - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      So many failed at getting my fantasy baseball reference LOL

      • paperlions - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        Writing 101

        If pretty much everyone doesn’t “get” what you were trying to do with your text, it is likely that the attempt was poorly executed and it is not the fault of those that didn’t understand what you were trying (but failed) to do.

  8. loge23 - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I actually met Jeff in PSL when he was with the Mets – he is a great guy, super friendly and always smiling. Unfortunately it didn’t quite carry over to his career, but you have to root for this guy.

    • skids003 - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Me and my son met him in Atlanta. He is genuinely nice and spoke to my son like he was somebody, not just another kid bothering him. My son still thinks he’s the greatest, and frankly, I will always root for him for the way he treated us. Too many at that level treat common people like they are nothing but a nuisance. I know they get tired too but when they take just a moment to speak it can last a lifetime.

  9. cur68 - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Ok, I admit, when I saw the headline I checked my surroundings for a haze of bong smoke (thanks COPO). Then I read the linked article, felt like a tool for getting a tiny bit verklempt about it, and decided that the title must be real and, in fact, was relatively restrained.

    This here be Friday. Tonight, I make merry. At some point I shall raise a glass of something shockingly alcoholic and say “Salut, Frenchy, and good luck this season.” If given the chance, I shall eat bacon, too.

    • Old Gator - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      With your luck, you’ll get pissed as a newt and fall over and your wife will pick that very moment to go into labor….

      • cur68 - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        Someone’s wife will go into labour, sure, and I’ll have to care, but not for a few days. Mine however may or may not go into labour, but, unless the fates and geography are being really cruel to me, I shan’t have to give a fuck for like, ever. Either way, tonight I shall attempt to get pissed as newt and to H-E-doublehockeysticks with whatever happens Monday.

  10. deathmonkey41 - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I hear when he’s not giving out money for bacon dogs, he drowns kittens and makes jokes about disabled children.

  11. b7p19 - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    “Yes. It’s true. Go read it. And then tell me that Jeff Francouer isn’t the finest sonofabitch who ever put on a major league uniform.”

    Nope, can’t. Thats unfair to even ask of us.

  12. l0yalr0yal - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Jeff Francoeur was the nicest guy we fielded last year. Say what you want about his ability, but I witnessed him multiple times after games signing autographs until there was nothing to sign, posing for pictures with children, shaking hands, the guy even stood around and talked fantasy football with me for like five minutes after a game last year. He’s absolutely first class.

  13. rejamaro - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    On top of all that, say what you want but the sonofabitch can play. He has a rocket arm. Plays great defense, Hit good. Hustles his butt off all the time. Turns singles into doubles. Great clubhouse guy and teammate. Plus he made the greatest catch in the majors last season in Seatlle. As a loyal Royals fan I am glad we have him for a couple more years.

  14. charlutes - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    So you have changed your opinion on how e should evaluate players because you now realize its not cool to hurt a nice guys feelings?

    did you think the guy was a ass for no apparent reason when u initially criticized him?

    are you saying you are going to base future columns on how much you like your subject?

    how bout you just admit you were wrong about his game, admit your not always looking very deep when u criticize athletes, and try to improve as a sports writer. this is why bloggers are criticized.

    • Gamera the Brave - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      I believe you are taking all this very seriously.
      Perhaps a bit too much so…
      If you spend more quality time here, you will get a better feel for when to take the posts more seriously.
      If you are a regular, please refer back to sentences 1 and 2.

  15. charlutes - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    what a waste of time this article was.

  16. roycethebaseballhack - Jan 27, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Let me just say that I’ve had a really crappy day. The kind of day you only get as a Corporate America wonk having to deal with angry and confused executives, and a customer who spends a lot of money, and is really pissed.

    That said, I enjoyed this article a lot.

    In Frenchy’s defense, I saw KC when they came to Arlington last season and got to watch Frenchy from the right field seats. The guy has a cannon for an arm. How he musters that much strength from such a gangly build is beyond me, but from mid right field he heaved a throw to third that cleared the leaping third baseball by five feet, and sailed clean into the Royals dugout. Not a good throw mind you, but impressive. All he needed was accuracy, and it would have been one of the finest throws I ever saw.

    And being an over-worked corporate wonk, I also missed lunch and I’m starving, but since I hold my hardballtalk amigos in such high regard, I’m going to share with all of you a badass bacon chicken recipe I made up last summer that has wowed even the most contemptuous hearts.

    Chicken breast, boneless, sliced into longways strips about an inch wide.

    1) Cover the raw chicken with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
    2) On a gas grill that’s really hot, sear the chicken on both sides for four or five minutes. Take off grill.
    3) Take inside and wrap each seared strip with a slice of thick bacon. I use applewood smoked stuff I get from the Central Market deli, here in Tx. Use a toothpick to hold on one end, and then just wrap it lengthwise – like if you were wrapping your finger with a bandage from bottom to top. Use a second toothpick to anchor it at the opposite end.
    4) Dip in an egg wash (one raw egg, beaten).
    5) Dip in seasoned breadcrumbs until completely covered.
    6) garnish with a very, very light sprinkling of cinnamon.
    7) Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
    8) Remove and enjoy.

    I serve this with rice and ranch style beans. The chicken being wrapped in bacon and a breaded covering will absolutely NEVER dry out in baking this way. Its off the charts.

    You could likely sear the chicken on a stove top in a good skillet, but my girlfriend has a gas grill that’s easy to just light up and use, so I do that.

    Enjoy!

  17. jopadontlie - Jan 27, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I heard he was a good guy but, really, didn’t he have an ethical responsibility to provide cholesterol lowering drugs in addition to the money for the bacon hot dogs?
    A great career tainted by the 32 grams of animal fat in each bun…
    Very sad.

  18. jopadontlie - Jan 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Actually, I wish we would have signed him in Philadelphia last year…
    There were rumors that Charlie wanted him on the team and was lobbying him.

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