Francoeur's underwear more valuable than he is

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For a Braves fan, this is simply adding insult to the grievous injury that is having to watch Jeff Francoeur try to play every day:

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Braves right fielder
Jeff Francoeur said he’ll wear the same underwear to Turner Field
Tuesday that he wore on Sunday. He claimed the Braves are 7-0 when he
wears his Thanksgiving-themed “turkey underwear” to the ballpark.

For a team that has a disappointing 35-40 overall record, that 7-0
mark is no small feat. The Braves open a three-game series against NL
East leader Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Francoeur said he had not worn the turkey briefs for back-to-back
games all season, but will Tuesday (the Braves were off Monday, and he
planned to ask his wife, Catie, to wash the underwear).

Note that the article doesn’t say that Francoeur plays
better in the gobbler skivvies, only that the team does. Given his
performance (.248/.283/.347), maybe the Braves would be better off by
simply keeping the underwear around and ditching Francoeur. At least
the underwear seems to ad some sort of value.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.