Over and over, Royals fans have been told that Jeff Francoeur is a great leader. But what does that mean? What does a leader DO in the clubhouse that is different from other players who have been around the game?
I decided to ask Jeff Francoeur about it, and he actually had some concrete examples for me!
I was laughing with Billy, I’ve heard stories that he wasn’t treated the greatest sometimes [as a rookie]. I was treated like a king. Chipper, Smotlzie, those guys, they took us everywhere. We never paid for a thing. They got honest, they put us in our place when we needed to, but they took us to dinner. First year and half, two years in the bigs, I never touch my wallet. I think that’s how it should be. Those guys should know that this is how baseball is. The one thing I always say is, I might have trouble at the plate, but I play the game the right way. I play hard every time I’m out there, and that’s what I think the young guys that come up, they need to see that this is how you play.
My favorite thing of being part of the team is doing that: when you get on a road trip, having a big team dinner, everyone going out, hanging out talking about the game or whatever. I think those things are important to grow as a team, and take it to where you want to be.
So, there you have it. He also mentioned that he was taking Mike Moustakas out for dinner and a beer. I would love to be a fly on the wall there, because those two are both very leadershippy.
Jeff was a very engaging interviewee. He occasionally spoke in baseball cliche, but he was mostly very candid about knowing his weaknesses, what he is working on, and his various forms of motivation.
When asked if he reads blogs, he said no, and also that “there’s nothing that I get knocked for that I don’t know that I need to improve.” He went on:
I don’t mind when someone criticizes me, I just don’t like when they attack me as a person. They don’t know if I’m working, they don’t know what I’m trying to do. You can ask anybody that’s around me, I work as hard if not harder than anybody. I’ll be the first one at the yard in spring training working with Seitzer every morning doing that stuff. I’m looking forward to having a big year this year, to help this team win, and I’d like to be here for a while. I don’t want to jump from one place to another. I’d like to be here from the beginning when things kind of turn around and see this thing through and hopefully be to the playoffs.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable interview. Of course, if his on-field production is not awesome, I will still say it’s not awesome. But I kind of get how GMDM and others in baseball are so charmed by this guy.