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Great Moments in post hoc ergo propter hoc: the Royals, and everyone else, are looking for “winners”

Dec 13, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Getty Images

Jeff Passan has a great piece up about how teams are looking for “winners.”  Or at least players perceived to be “winners.” Players like the ones who propelled the San Francisco Giants to two World Series titles in the past three seasons and who, as a result, are now in demand regardless of whether or not there is any empirical basis for calling them that.

Passan’s case study is the Kansas City Royals. His example on the Royals: Jeff Francouer.  “Jeff Francouer is a winner,” Dayton Moore tells Passan. And then Passan demonstrates just how not a winner Jeff Francoeur is by any reasonable definition of the term. Read it: it’s genius. You’ll think my slamming Francouer over the past several years is tame by comparison. Yet Passan says nothing that is not demonstrably true.

Chemistry. Juju. Mojo. Leadership. Call it whatever you want, but as Passan observes in this wonderful piece, it seems to be what teams are looking for these days.

And even if you don’t care about any of that stuff, you gotta read it for the lede about Ned Yost at Starbucks, which is absolutely priceless.

  1. jarathen - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Orlando Cabrera is eagerly waiting by his phone.

    • jwbiii - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      And Eli Whiteside gets passed around like a stuporous cheerleader at a frat party.

  2. gbar22 - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    What writers write about when there is nothing truly interesting going on

  3. Utley's Hair - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    You’re welcome.

    • DJ MC - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      I was just coming in to say that I’ve been going through The West Wing recently, so this post is relevant to my interests.

  4. proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Passan is one of the top baseball writers out there. He is much better than Heyman and Olney.

    • paperlions - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      You aren’t setting the bar particularly high there…..it’s like saying he’s better than Mitch Albom.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        Fortunately, I am rarely exposed to Mitch Albom.

      • paperlions - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        Me either….but I seem to developing acute retching symptoms when I am…so I avoid him as much as possible.

  5. The Rabbit - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Advice to Dayton Moore: Quondo Omni Flunkus Mortati. It does sound better in an obsolete language.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM

      Unfortunately, I threw out my old Latin text book when I moved; however, it does sound right.

      • The Rabbit - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        Good morning PC,
        Hope all is going well in your world.
        Translation: When all else fails, play dead. I know that wasn’t in Caesar’s “Gallic Wars”.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        Thanks Rabbit. All is well in my world. Life is good.

  6. Old Gator - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    I dunno. Frenchy looks too absorbed in his celebrity in that photo.

  7. sportsdrenched - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Royals fans have been fed that line of bull since Glass took over the organization. It’s what teams say when they’re out of ideas & money.

    Anytime I hear “grit”, “winner”, “club house guy”, or “goes about their business the right way” I hear “Sucks”

  8. jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    I’m not buying Passan’s comparison between Francoeur and Hunter Pence. Or his comparison between the Giants’ front office and Dayton Moore.

    The difference in their performance in 2012 was worth about three wins. Also, Pence performed quite well for the Giants in high-leverage situations, in spite of his disappointing batting line overall. Along with his unexpected turn in the postseason as a stirring pre-game motivational speaker, he did enough for the Giants for a reasonable performance-minded person to believe that he was important to their success (while still believing that they would have been better off if they had re-signed Carlos Beltran after 2011).

    Overall, I’d say it’s not really adequate to label the Giants as a fundamentally illogical organization. After all, all they’ve done recently is to bring Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey through their organization and into the major leagues and with them playing important roles to win two World Championships. To suggest that they did all that with consideration only for the “tropes” they used to describe how good the results felt in October is to give them very short shrift.

  9. jjschiller - Dec 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    So maybe instead of Foreign Aid for starving nations, we should just send fat people.

    “Look, this guy really knows how to eat. He can help you, show you how it’s done!”

  10. Jeremy Fox - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    The Passan piece is very good, I wonder if it could’ve been even better. Would’ve liked to see him reel off a list of winning teams with famously bad clubhouse chemistry, maybe throw in an anecdote or two about outstanding players who were widely disliked but whose team won titles, just to drive home the point. It’s weird, really; even the biggest believers in “knowing how to win” and “chemistry” must be aware of those examples, but somehow they discount them. Nothing for it but to keep reminding them.

    • paperlions - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      It really is a good piece. It isn’t often in today’s mainstream media that you so a lot of thinking in a piece like that….in that article there is a lot of good thinking and examples/data to back up the thinking.

  11. chacochicken - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Someone really needs to stand up for the losers once in a while. Can we really have winners without the losers? Aren’t they just as necessary? A GM should be honest and say “that guy only give about 60% maybe 70% tops, he’d fit right in with our 55 win team. Better question, would a team full of Jeff Francoeurs win 55 games? Royals duplicating Giants….if you believe that you must have the old Iraqi Information Minister on staff.

    • apmn - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Would a rotation full of Josh Becketts win 55 games?

  12. shanabartels - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Why can’t anyone spell Francoeur correctly?!

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      Who spelled it incorrectly?

  13. cur68 - Dec 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Everybody jumping up and down on Frenchy. Know what I never get seen written about? His fortitude with this stuff. Anyone ever hear of the guy ripping into his media critics? Nope. He remains as serene as Buddha about it all. I wonder if a good rip of the media might not be in order? Show some fire in the ole belly? Really lay into a certain blogger, for instance. Would it help? I doubt it. But it would liven things up around here and make us all happy with something to chew over for the next few months (Months? sob)

    Note to Jeff Francoeur (you happy now, Shana? I copied and pasted that from your comment):
    Take it easy man. It’ll be a new season soon. Show up in BSOL. Play hard. Have grit. Yadda, yadda. But, instead of $100 can we get a comment about the time you met Craig “Lex Luthor” Calcaterra and was NOT a jerk to him? This in spite of some pretty no-holds-barred blogging on your MLB output? Feel free to make shit up about him. It would amuse us all.

  14. zzalapski - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    But how’s his makeup?

  15. stex52 - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Short version; bosses like to hire people they like. The justification can come afterwards.

  16. natslady - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    It’s the Natitude, Craig, right? Fans picking up on that slogan prolly won at least 18 games for the Nats.

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