I thought it would work. I thought Jeff Francoeur would remember how to hit and the masses would forget he’d forgotten and all would be bliss for the hometown kid and the team of his dreams. But it’s not working, and I’ve come to believe it won’t.
Too much has happened. He got too big too fast. It wasn’t his fault. He was great from the moment of his big-league arrival in July 2005 and we — meaning the fans and the media and the Braves themselves — loved him and reveled in every detail of his charmed young life. But then, after two mostly solid full seasons, he stopped hitting. And everything changed.
Francoeur was upset when the Braves sent him to Class AA on the Fourth of July. “I don’t think there’s any way I can [feel as warmly toward the organization] 100 percent,” he said in February. “I want to play here forever; I’ve said that all along. But the business part of it is different.”
The Braves weren’t thrilled when Francoeur went to Texas to work with Rangers