And because a zillion people have asked me already, no I am not suffering any existential angst by virtue of my arch nemesis, Jeff Francoeur, making it to the World Series. If anything, it’s the best thing possible. Why? Because my frustration with Francoeur has always had less to do with him personally — though, believe me, he was frustrating — than it has to do with the Francoeur Industrial Complex, epitomized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more recently the New York tabloids who worked overtime to play this guy up as an emerging superstar against all evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, for the better part of five years I and other like-minded souls have argued that he’d only be acceptable as a backup outfielder deployed as a defensive replacement and occasional fill-in against lefties.
Now that he is on a team that has placed him in that role, he has found success. This is not a coincidence. And hopefully, it’s a learning experience for everyone.
Oh, and here’s a nice runner-up Photo of the Weekend.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.