Jan 21

FanFest: Jeff Francoeur on leadership

"Let me explain!"

The Bravest interview.

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.

Related posts:

  1. Jeff Francoeur a Royal: Deal with it
  2. FanFest odds and ends
  3. Francoeur is full of….


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  1. Will

    The financial aspect of this leadership is interesting. It’s a little weird, because isn’t a big aspect of the NFL is making rookies pay for things?

    In any case, you have to love a scenario in which someone making $400 K is someone who needs a hand financially.

    1. Chris

      Not to mention that Moose is a multi-millionaire!

  2. Jeff "Ballpark Thinking"

    Love the blog… very well done and you have a great source of info there in Omaha! I am just starting mine, I hope to write a little something everyday during the season. Check it out ! http://www.ballparkthinking.blogspot.com

    Keep up the good work !!

  3. Lee Warren

    This is good stuff Minda. Thanks for posting it. Loved hearing Francoeur’s explanation of what leadership looks like.

    I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. In 2006, I was in the Royals’ clubhouse to write a story that I started this way:

    Mike Sweeney bounced into the Kansas City Royals’ locker room the afternoon that the Royals returned from a 12-day road trip recently.

    He’d been out of action since May 1 when he injured his back against the Detroit Tigers, and he wasn’t able to fly with the team to away games because of concerns about his injury.

    He couldn’t wait to be reunited with teammates.

    He hugged Doug Mientkiewicz. He approached a group of Spanish-speaking teammates with a huge grin on his face and spoke to them in their native tongue. He bumped fists with Reggie Sanders for hitting career home run No. 299 during the road trip, and Sanders thanked him for calling to express his support.

    In the process of renewing relationships, Sweeney left little doubt that he truly is the team captain and his actions declared that no racial, cultural or any other sort of potential dividing line is allowed under his watch.


    I don’t know how you measure that type of leadership. But to the players he reached out to — the ones struggling to fit in on the team and maybe even to the veterans who simply needed to hear ‘job well done’ from a peer — I think it made a difference, much like an RA makes a difference in the life of a new college student who feels lost or needs guidance or encouragement.

    I heard a story about Edwin Bellorin last season. When he got to Omaha, he said some of the guys who had been around a while made sure he had a place to live and they made gave him rides around the city whenever he needed them. Presumably, that helped him to focus on the game. It certainly brought him closer to his teammates.

    Leadership may not be measurable in numbers, but in my opinion, it matters.

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