Jeff Francoeur loves his fans in Kansas City
July, 30, 2012
By Matt Lindner | Special to ESPN.com
Courtesy of Kansas City RoyalsJeff Francoeur has inspired the Frenchy Quarter cheering section in right field at Kauffman Stadium.KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The more time outfielder Jeff Francoeur spends in a Kansas City Royals uniform, the more his reputation for being one of the more fan-friendly players in sports continues to grow.
He’s bought beer for fans sitting in right field at Kauffman Stadium and pizzas for fans in Oakland.
So what’s he got planned next?
“I don’t know. I think I’ll stop at that for now,” Francoeur said. “I have fun, there’s no doubt about it.”
Few players have connected with fans both at home and on the road the way that Francoeur has, taking the time to interact with them and make Royals games a little bit more memorable for the people shelling out their money to see him live out his childhood dreams.
It’s something he says is important for his fellow big leaguers to consider.
“I think it’s important for all the guys," he said. "Obviously, you know, they come to see us, they come to watch us play and for us to go out there and bust our butts for them and hopefully win as many games as we can."
Chris Vleisid/Kansas City RoyalsThis fan caught a ball from Francoeur with a $100 bill attached to buy concessions for fans in right field.
Now in his second season with the Royals, the Atlanta native finds himself at home at Kauffman Stadium.
Since signing with the Royals prior to the 2011 season, Francoeur has formed a unique bond with Royals fans, who have gravitated toward his easygoing attitude and blue-collar style of play.
“We’ve got good fans here, blue-collar people that love the team, love coming out," he said, "so it’s real easy to kind of make a connection.”
In fact, he’s become so popular that the team has given him his own personal Mardi Gras-style cheering section called the Frenchy Quarter.
“Some people, I think, started doing it last year,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool thing.”
Every Thursday night, the team sells a block of tickets for $21 apiece to match Francoeur’s uniform number. Much like when people visit New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, visitors to the Frenchy Quarter receive beads -- only they don’t have to go topless to earn them.
Despite his Mardi Gras-themed cheering section, Frenchy himself is relatively inexperienced when it comes to all things Fat Tuesday.
“No,” he said, “but I’ll go someday, I guess.”