Jeff Francoeur is the finest man in all of baseball

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No, I’m not being sarcastic. I have seen the freakin’ light. Read on.

Everyone knows that I have a long history of allowing Jeff Francoeur — or, rather, the idea of Jeff Francoeur — drive me crazy.  I never liked his game. I mocked the claims of his surrogates in the media that he was better than we thought.  I was highly skeptical that he’d ever match his lofty reputation, etc. etc.

Last year, you may recall, I met Jeff Francoeur and discovered that … he was a great guy. Like, super nice.  It made me rethink the whole idea of how and why we rip players and what it all means.  And then he went and had a really spiffy season in Kansas City, thereby rendering most of my Francouer whining moot.  Yeah, at the end of the year he got a new contract that was probably too big, but at this point Francoeur has earned the benefit of the doubt with me. I have no standing to get on him for a very long time, truth be told.

Way less so now that I read this story by Bojan Koprivica over at The Hardball Times in which Francoeur gave opposing fans $100 and an autographed baseball with explicit instructions on it to use the money to purchase bacon dogs and beer.

Yes. It’s true. Go read it. And then tell me that Jeff Francouer isn’t the finest sonofabitch who ever put on a major league uniform.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.