May 022013

by John Viril—

Like everyone else who was watching the Royals 8-2 victory Tuesday against Tampa Bay, I saw Jeff Francoeur nut tap third base coach Eddie Rodriguez after hitting a triple. From the video, it appears as if Francoeur intended to poke him in the belly and missed—resulting in a wave of guffaws that has resounded among fans across the web.

Yeah, sure it’s amusing. But, to me, it was worth no more than a momentary chuckle. Yet, you see posts about it on blogs all over the net. On the Royals team page, you can see three stories on the incident.

I guess everyone else thinks it’s a lot more funny than I do.

The analytical part of me can’t help but wonder why. A pretentious gremlin inside my brain whispers that NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay on Monday. Maybe Francoeur’s slap-stick mistake might have assured everyone that things aren’t changing too much: sports is still a bastion of manliness. That sounds pretty darn condescending to the people who liked that video a lot more than I did.

No only that, people seemed just as amused by the “Konerko/Getz/Kuntz” photos that went around the web a couple of weeks ago. That picture came well before Jason Collins.

The other idea floating around in my head is that incidents like the Jeff Francoeur nut tap help us relate to players. They make them seem more human. Most of us cannot imagine what it would be like to make 500k per paycheck, and moments like this tear down the facade a little. They assure us that, deep down, the players really are like us

Then I think I need to stop thinking too much. People enjoyed it. And isn’t baseball about having fun?

Could this be why many fans get turned off the more sabermetrics bleeds into the mainstream baseball experience? I was sitting there looking for some analytical take that could give me a story. Could all of that analysis be killing the fun?

Maybe that’s something those of us with stat-head inclinations need to think about.

 Posted by at 4:19 pm

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