It’s a story that will be told to generations of Oakland A’s fans who populate the right field bleachers. Well, at least until they move out of Oakland.
Jeff Francoeur has been a sabermetric whipping boy for quite a while now, as after his time sucking up right field for the Atlana Braves, Frenchy took himself a fancy in Kansas City, where Dayton Moore made him his 9-man of choice. That being said, he had a good 2011 campaign (earning him a new two year deal, on top of that) and by all accounts, he’s a good guy and has been known for good interactions with his fans.
Even if they aren’t on the team he plays for.
During the Royals’ trip to Oakland in 2011, Frenchy was met by a group of fans in the right field bleachers, who struck up an accord with the cannon-armed man bereft of walks. He even tossed a ball into the right field stands. Normal fare, as it seemed. Until the fans discovered that the ball had a $100 wrapped around in it. Frenchy was so taken by the fans that he yelled up to them to use the money to buy “bacon and beer.”
Obviously, when a man decides that the best use of $100 is to spend it on bacon and beer, he will have made a lot of friends, indeed. Frenchy got as many cheers as the A’s players the fans were rooting on, and was welcomed back to his perch every day Kansas City visited the Other City By The Bay.
So the A’s then saw a gesture done for an opposing player that is rarely done for even one of their own. The fans in right field presented Francoeur with a shirt honoring the “2nd Annual Bacon Tuesday – April 10, 2012, Sponsored by Jeff Francoeur.” It was even done in yellow and green. One good turn deserves another, as Frenchy sent 20 pizzas to the fans who gifted him the shirt, along with a signed bat and a note that asked them to keep making bacon.
For as much as we give Frenchy a hard time for his free swinging antics, it’s things like these that allow us to see that players can find ways to enjoy the game even away from their home ballparks. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past A’s general manager Billy Beane to keep Frenchy on the radar just in case he needs a new right fielder at some point down the line. Even with Frenchy not exactly fitting into Beane’s sabermetric-based ideals, it’s nice to see a player make a connection with the fans no matter what team he plays for.