Jeff Francoeur

Jeff Francoeur is in The Best Shape of His Life

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He doesn’t utter the words, but when you have a story that spends multiple paragraphs on physical conditioning, change in diet and references to body fat percentage, all as a means of excusing last year’s poor performance and promising better performance in the coming year, you have captured the very essence of BSOHL.

I’m not gonna blockquote it. You have to read the whole thing to believe it. Not because of any specific passage, but because of how clearly this story is an apologia for Francouer’s shortcomings in 2012 and — as we’ve seen basically every year of his career — a rah-rah piece containing quotes about how he’s gonna turn it around in the coming season and assertions about how he’s too talented not to return to form, even if his good years are the aberration and his poor ones more the norm. I mean it: with the possible exception of last spring, every single year there is a story from someone in either Atlanta, New York or Kansas City talking about how Francoeur is poised to finally fulfill his promise and ascend to superstardom, as if it were preordained.

This edition of the story has it all: it has weight room talk, diet talk, swing-tinkering talk, change in bat weight talk, “gonna prove the naysayers wrong” talk. The whole deal. If he were a pitcher it would have something about a change in mechanics and pitch-tipping, I’m sure.

And like I said above: that’s what the BSOHL stuff is really about. It’s not about shape per se. It’s about optimistic spring training stories which serve as a basis for explaining away poor performance and raising expectations for better performance. Often as a player is either hitting free agency or entering his walk year. In this piece we have an almost perfect example of the form, applied to the player the meme was born to describe.

Hunter Pence is in The Best Shape of His Life

Hunter Pence
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The Giants own Twitter feed says so:

 

Accompanying that is this video detailing Pence’s adherence to the paleo diet:

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I’m trying to do this to some extent. Not hardcore or anything, but in the same direction. It’s only been a week for me and I have thus far been unable to not constantly think of pizza and fat sandwiches. So, yeah, it’s a process. Good for Pence, though.

Roger Clemens throws batting practice to the Astros, is not in the Best Shape of His Life

Roger Clemens
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We’re all gonna go to hell to some extent after we retire. Many of us before. Roger Clemens is no exception:

And throw live BP he did. McTaggart has a report. The upshot: Clemens had fun, but he is not a guy who sounds like he’s coming out of retirement again, be it for the Sugar Land Skeeters, the Houston Astros or anyone else.

J.J. Putz is in The Best Shape of his Life

J.J. Putz Getty
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We already knew that Trevor Cahill was, but add J.J. Putz to the mix. For he, like Cahill, went gluten and dairy free:

 

I’m having a hard enough time cutting carbs from my diet. How one can go totally gluten and dairy free is beyond me. But bully for them.

Carlos Gomez is in The Best Shape of His Life

Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day
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Man, we got actual professional beat reporters hipping us to these things now. We should spin this feature off to BSOHLTalk:

 

He’s always been in pretty good shape. But if he’s truly in the BSOHL, I can’t even imagine how fast his home run trots are going to be.