Although people are used to the front office of the Kansas City Royals being on the cutting edge of, well, pretty much everything, it was still a bit of a surprise to read that they going to take entries from the “social media” to have the chance to interview General Manager Dayton Moore and a few others during the Royals’ Annual FanFest. The winners were announced last week, and it was nice to see that a fair number of respected members of the Royals’ Nerdosphere were invited.
If you ask me, even more exciting than the list people asking the questions is the list of people said to be answering them. Dayton Moore is one of them, of course, as is manager Ned Yost. But there were also a couple of players. One of them is probably the only Royals position player who could be considered close to being something like a “star,” Billy Butler. The other player picked to be part of this interview (conducted, remember, by a group of people generally considered to play close attention to non-superficial stats, who prefer performance over reputation, who don’t just buy the team’s fluff stories) will be…
…and this is not a joke….
People might think that Moore and Yost would be the ones to ask questions about, but remember that they can’t give answers about any potential trades or missed free agent signings or things like that because of the league’s rules about tampering. And really, they are just going to have to give pat answers. Billy Butler might be a pretty good interview, but Royals fans have heard from him before.
No, for my money, the guy we want to hear from is a a real competitor (the greatest competitor one anonymous AL Central executive says he has ever seen), a man with World Series experience: Jeff Francoeur. I respect those members of the “social media” who have been invited to interview this group. However, I also understand that they probably aren’t used to talking to a person that is not only a tremendous athlete, but is also well-known for his witty banter. I’m not sure how I would handle it in person, but since I don’t have to confront Jeff Freaking Francoeur directly, here are a few suggestions for what to ask him.
“Jeff, we all know that you have strong opinions about the information that is available to fans at the games. What sort of numbers do you think should be on the scoreboard?”
“Mr. Francouer, so many great organizations are out there that so great charitable work. How would you rank the following with what they do for all of us? Amnesty International, the World Wildlife Fund, Habitat for Humanity, and Delta Airlines.”
“A question for both Mr. Francoeur and Mr. Moore: You two have a special relationship that goes back to when Mr. Moore was working for the Braves and Mr. Francoeur was a prospect. Which of the following best describes Mr. Francoeur’s coming to the Royals: was he born a Royal, did he achieve Royalty, or did he have Royaldom thrust upon him?”
“Jeff, could you settle a bet for me? I keep telling my friend that BaseRuns isn’t a suitable run estimator for individual players, but he doesn’t believe me. Could you please explain to him why a dynamic run estimator is fine for the league or teams, but not (directly) for individuals? We have a vintage copy of Sports Illustrated riding on this.”
“Mr. Francoeur, a lot of people say that you rookie year was a fluke and point to your declining numbers since that time. Can you please explain to the ignorant critics how your .256/.301/.389 line over the last three seasons is basically the same as .300/.336/.549 rookie line once we account for the changing run environment?”
“Jeff, you are known as a great leader. Can you tell us what you would say to a player about how handle what he feels is an unfair demotion?”
“Along the same lines, how would you put a teammate back in line if he started putting personal numbers ahead of what is best for the team?”
Those are a just a few to get you started. You don’t have to thank me personally, just pay it forward.