1. J.W. said...

    Where’s “Timmy’s” hat tip? Did you not take his link and use it as a post? Does that not warrant some sort of public acknowledgement? Or do you subscribe to the theory that a good deed is its own reward? Or perhaps “Timmy” was not the first to alert you to the existence of this t-shirt? Do you think it’s possible to fit more questio marks in this comment? Should we find out?

    Ok I’ll stop now. I apologize.

    Or do I?

  2. Slugger O'Toole said...

    I’m not a Braves fan, so I have a hard time understanding why a) Francoeur is still getting playing time b) why Braves fans ever thought he didn’t suck. I am especially baffled by fans like you, Craig, who are knowledgable in the ways statistical analysis. Why didn’t his swing-at-everything-and-then-swing-some-more approach signal a brief and tragically useless career right from the beginning? I’m not critizing, just curious. What upside did he ever have?

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Slugger—JF had a few things going for him when he came up:

    1. He’s from Atlanta, and was a big high school football and baseball star, so there’s a “local boy makes good” thing about him;

    2. He was the number one pick in the draft and famously turned down a football scholarship to Clemson or someplace like that;

    3. When he was called up to the bigs, he went on a two or three month tear during which he just hit the cover off the ball, made the cover of Sports Illustrated, everything.

    All of this caused the team to immediately catapult him to the forefront of its marketing efforts. His face was everywhere. He’s not a bad looking guy, so he had a lot of interest from casual and especially female fans, not unlike the whole “Grady’s Ladies” thing up in Cleveland.

    All of this converged in such a way the default Jeff Francoeur in people’s minds was the superstar Francoeur, will all other things being seen as an aberration.  If he had come out struggling like he has, he wouldn’t have lasted long.  But since he started on fire, for years the Braves and the local media have played up the “Jeff is going to go back to being Jeff soon” line, completely discounting that his fast start, not his long line of suckitude, was the anomaly.

    With Francoeur penciled in everyone’s minds as a franchise savior, there has been scant little effort to bring in better outfielders. He’s basically all they’ve had at right field until very recently (Heyward will probably take over there once they cut bait on Francoeur).

    But to be clear: many Braves’ fans—myself included—have been on to Francoeur for a long time. We were all happy when he broke out four years ago, but I for one never thought that was his true level. He never walked in the minors and wasn’t walking in the Majors. We knew that he’d be challenged with breaking balls in the dirt his first full season, and that how he responded to that would tell the tale.  Well, he hacked at those and hasn’t ceased hacking for some time.

    Because he has a decent glove and arm, and because he has had some success against lefties, I have thought that maybe he has his uses as a Major Leaguer. The Braves have been unwilling to test that, however, marking him down as a starter every single day, relenting on the minor league assignment last year (he was supposed to go down until he figured things out; he bitched and was called back up after three days), and generally pretending that he is something he’s not for too damn long now.

    So I guess my mocking of Francoeur is misguided. He is what he is and can’t or won’t help himself. The Braves need to be the grownups here and bench or release the guy, and they simply won’t. So really, I should be more angry with the team.

  4. Timmy said...

    I think the fact that the team and the casual fans still celebrate the guy so much, has forced the people who watch 140+ Braves games a year into a serious dis-taste for the guy.  That and his inflated attitude of himself, his ego is such that if were put into a platoon role where he might not actually be completely over his head, he’d bitch and moan so much that it would be equally counter-productive. 

    The sad part is, Brian McCann is the real superstar of the team, a local product, and still is not held up in anywhere close to the same “golden boy” light that Francoeur is in the Atlanta area.

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