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Jeff Francoeur is in The Best Shape of His Life

Feb 25, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Jeff Francoeur

He doesn’t utter the words, but when you have a story that spends multiple paragraphs on physical conditioning, change in diet and references to body fat percentage, all as a means of excusing last year’s poor performance and promising better performance in the coming year, you have captured the very essence of BSOHL.

I’m not gonna blockquote it. You have to read the whole thing to believe it. Not because of any specific passage, but because of how clearly this story is an apologia for Francouer’s shortcomings in 2012 and — as we’ve seen basically every year of his career — a rah-rah piece containing quotes about how he’s gonna turn it around in the coming season and assertions about how he’s too talented not to return to form, even if his good years are the aberration and his poor ones more the norm. I mean it: with the possible exception of last spring, every single year there is a story from someone in either Atlanta, New York or Kansas City talking about how Francoeur is poised to finally fulfill his promise and ascend to superstardom, as if it were preordained.

This edition of the story has it all: it has weight room talk, diet talk, swing-tinkering talk, change in bat weight talk, “gonna prove the naysayers wrong” talk. The whole deal. If he were a pitcher it would have something about a change in mechanics and pitch-tipping, I’m sure.

And like I said above: that’s what the BSOHL stuff is really about. It’s not about shape per se. It’s about optimistic spring training stories which serve as a basis for explaining away poor performance and raising expectations for better performance. Often as a player is either hitting free agency or entering his walk year. In this piece we have an almost perfect example of the form, applied to the player the meme was born to describe.

  1. riverace19 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Yah he will show up in the BSOHL, kill it for 6 weeks, fool people, then go back to swinging at everything with an OBP <.300… That's the pattern with frenchy, and occurs as reliably as tides and the four seasons

  2. cur68 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    And so, with our Annual Frenchy BSOHL Post, we commence the 2013 Spring Training Season. No matter what anyone believes THIS is the Official Start of the Spring Training.

    Regular Season will of course commence once Craig runs into Frenchy and is, again, snake charmed into writing a pro-Frenchy piece.

    Ah, Jeff Francouer, you beguiling fiend: Craig just can’t quit you….

  3. Old Gator - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    What happens when a guy tests positive for BSOHL? I mean, it is an over the counter prep….

  4. dondada10 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    He would probably make a great Granderson replacement for the Yankees.

  5. digbysellers - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Francoeur being in any type of shape to play competent ball is a sign of the apocolypse. Hopefully we will be saved at the zero hour by a koala-fish mutant bird.

    100 free thumbs up if you know where that came from…

    • Old Gator - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      I’ll take my thumbs medium rare, with a side of hot buttered groat clusters.

      • andrewproughcfe - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        Holy crap – can’t believe I actually hit play and listened to a minute of that. @digbysellers – what does that say about you that you even know what Koala-fish-mutant-bird is?

        I thought I had heard some of the strangest music ever, but that… It’s not music at all, really. What in the world is that? And the real question – why????

  6. gbar22 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Someone really dislikes Jeff Francouer. I always Found him delightful as a Met albeit not that great a player. Still, like jason bay, he is very easy to root for so why the hate? Did he spurn you in some way? This whole blog rant comes off as a personal grudge.

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Not to worry, as soon as Jeff sends him some pizza to the Lair, we’ll have a Feel Good post in the near future.

    • dondada10 - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      As a Mets fan, I first saw Frenchy as a Brave and disliked him for it. Once that childishness wore off, I grew to dislike his approach at the plate. Namely, the swing non-stop approach.

      What sealed it for me, though, was when he complained about being platooned. I’ll let other fans speak for themselves, but that’s where I started disliking him.

    • tuberippin - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Why the hate?

      I’m guessing because he sucks at playing the game of baseball professionally, yet is continually paid as though he is a competent major-league outfielder.

    • andrewproughcfe - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      @gbar22 – as a Mets fan, you are rooting for Jason Bay? You do realize he makes around a million dollars per RBI?

      I guess it’s better than Bobby Bonilla, who makes millions from the Mets for doing absolutely nothing.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Had to have a pic of Frenchie dropping a ball, huh? He won’t be buying you any popcorn or hotdogs this season.

  8. crawdaddybob - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Digbysellers…its from the movie Clerks! Great movie.

    And Frenchy will always fall far short of his potential; offensively at least.

    • paperlions - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      I disagree. He has reached his potential. There was no evidence when he was in the minors that he was that good….he had some crazy production over a small sample size when he was first called up, ever since then he’s been playing right at his potential.

      • tuberippin - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

        “There was no evidence when he was in the minors that he was that good”

        Aside from being the Braves #1 prospect in 2005, the #27 prospect in 2004 according to Baseball America. He was ranked ahead of guys like Youkilis, S.S. Choo, Hanley, Erik Bedard, Nick Swisher, Matt Cain, and others.

        I will agree that his free-swinging issues were also issues back then though. IIRC he posted a 68-30 K:BB in Double-A before he made the jump to the majors.

  9. 2077james - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I want him to succeed but I know he probably won’t. It’d be so much easier if Frenchy was an asshole.

    • sdelmonte - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      Seems unfair when the nice guys are so mediocre and the jerks are so good. But it can be argued that sometimes, you’re that good because you are such a single minded blight on humanity (see under Bonds, Barry).

  10. dacty4491 - Feb 25, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    As an Atlanta resident and fan of the Braves, I saw more than I wanted of Francoeur when he was playing here. He may be a nice guy and all that, but he had such an incredible sense of narcissitic entitlement that I found him insufferable. If you listened to what he said to the media, it was clear that he thought of himself as the second coming of Chipper Jones who would headline the franchise for seasons to come. He seemed to think that it was his destiny. Against all evidence, he still appears to be convinced that he’s a superstar who’s just had the misfortune of having some unlucky seasons.

  11. blingslade - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Frenchy is the poster boy the stereotypical major league roid boy. When he’s on the roids, he’s pretty damn good..and signs for millions. When he’s off the roids he’s one of the worst outfielders in the majors.

    Just compare his 2011 vs. 2012 stats and you’ll know all you need to know about juicing.

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