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Jeff Francoeur And Why I Like Certain Players

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Frenchy is gone, but there will be no snark, no cheap jokes. That well has been tapped for the last 14 months or so, there's nothing else really to say. Bad player went on a 2.5 month hot streak in 2009, won the hearts of fans and the front office with his smile, hit like Jason Kendall in 2010 and even in departure the members of the New York media refuse to say a bad word about their best friend. Whatever. The saga leads into another discussion -- why do fans like certain players? More specifically, since I won't speak for others, why do I like certain players?

I'll spell it out in elementary fashion. The Mets winning makes me happy. How do the Mets win? By having good players (David Wright, Jose Reyes), as opposed to bad players (Francoeur, Oliver Perez). Good players --> winning --> happiness. In general, the better a player is, the more I like him. In graph form:

Metsgraphlike_medium

(click to embiggen)

Professional baseball players are not my drinking buddies. I don't know them personally. Cui gives a s**t if Frenchy tells a good knock-knock joke if he's batting .230? If a Met does well to help the team win, I will most likely be a fan. If said player stinks, I will probably not rally around him. It sounds cold but it's reality. I'm emotionally invested in the Mets, but not to the point where I think I'm on a first name basis with the players, or whatever. Angel Pagan isn't coming out to the bar to play Buck Hunter and dominate the jukebox with me this weekend. He'll be on teevee at the bar, hopefully hitting homers and making great catches, leading to much rejoicing.

There are exceptions. Off the field stuff matters (see Francisco Rodriguez on the above graph). I prefer homegrown players (Wright, Reyes, Dwight Gooden). Productive players irrationally hated by the fan base are also favorites (Carlos Beltran, Mike Cameron, Fernando Tatis). Bonus points to things like Carlos Delgado earning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2006 for sportsmanship and community involvement. Ditto Pagan standing by young Jenrry Mejia during interviews, helping the rookie out because English isn't his first language (That's the "good clubhouse guy" stuff that impresses -- not yukking it up about your fantasy football team). But in general, the best fit line on the graph is the norm.

Rational fans want their team to win. This is why I get riled up when I read or hear people say that a Frenchy type is their favorite Met. Even worse, some of these people simultaneously slam the good players on the team. One prominent Mets blogger (who will remain anonymous) consistently praises Alex Cora while calling for the team to cut ties with Reyes. Go away -- I don't want you in my fan base.

There's plenty more to be said here but that's enough for now. Suffices to say, if you praise Jeff Francoeur and Alex Cora for their grittiness, while bashing Jose Reyes, you lose the right to complain about the team not winning.