French lessons

I joked about Jeff Francoeur during last night’s taping of the Mostly Mets podcast. I want to clarify. This is that:

With the unemployment rate so high it seems in bad taste to suggest that Francoeur’s continued presence in Major League outfields means anyone can find a job. I understand that it’s not easy to find gainful employment at any time and especially this particular one, and by no means did I intend to imply that if Jeff Francoeur could continue flailing his way into big-league lineups then everyone else could, too. I hope it didn’t come off that way.

What I meant to say is that Jeff Francoeur’s continued presence in Major League outfields should serve as an inspiration to all people, regardless of working status. It’s something bigger than work anyway.

In times of struggle, we doubt ourselves. At least I do. And when you get down, it takes a lot to convince yourself you do not suck at whatever it is you’re attempting, that you have the capacity for greatness. But let Jeff Francoeur serve as a reminder that you don’t need to be great to succeed, you only need to occasionally not suck long enough to convince someone that you do not totally suck. Persistence and one or two marketable skills should get you there.

When the world kicks you to the curb, why reach for the sky? That’s an unobtainable goal. Look to Jeff Francoeur. Pull yourself upright and try to appear presentable for a few weeks or a month. and put stock in the redeeming graces of randomness and good fortune.

So little of what we do in life is as closely and accurately monitored with objective data as a baseball player’s performance is. As far as I know there’s nothing like wOBA to rate doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists or web editors, and certainly nothing like it to show how well we use our free time, how we relate, how we love.

Francoeur’s having a good year in 2011, but there’s a ton of evidence to show he won’t keep it up. In spite of that, people keep giving him press conferences, contract extensions and fawning newspaper features. If Francoeur can find sympathetic souls to rationalize away his walk rate and career OPS+, there should be nothing in our own relatively uncharted pasts we cannot overcome.

It’d be nice if we could wake up every morning confident we could endeavor whatever it is we set out to do with the ability of Tim Lincecum and enjoy all the same success. But it’s sometimes hard to be so bold. Those times we need Francoeur. Those times, we need only look ourselves in the mirror and muster up the courage to not suck for a long enough stretch for fate to smile on us again.

Oh, that smile.

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