It wasn’t long after Jeff Francoeur joined the Kansas City Royals in 2011 that someone in the team’s front office got the clever idea of having a promotion in right field called Frenchy Quarter Thursday. For just $21, fans could see “Frenchy,” Francoeur’s nickname, make just awful reads in the outfield and then not have the speed to stop a base runner from scoring from first. Sure, he had a
good great arm, but that wasn’t enough to
justify his $7.5 million dollar salary, his sub .250 OBP, his .570 SLG, and his
negative advanced defensive metrics nearly across the board (-2.8 RngR, -0.2
ErrR, -0.5 UZR, and -1.4 UZR/150). But if you could stand all that, the
promotional night came with a free t-shirt and free blue Mardi Gras beads. So
hey, there’s that.
But with Frenchy being designated for assignment – eventually being signed by the San Francisco Giants and present to Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter – the Royals marketing department decided to change the name but keep the promotion. And instead of coming up with their own player represented by the promotion, they decided to leave it in the hands of their social media fan base.
On the team’s website, the Royals have narrowed the choicesdown to three, and urge fans to vote for the new fan seating section. And like most newfangled social media voting, it requires a hashtag, both on Twitter and on Facebook (don’t they know hashtags on facebook are lame?!) for the vote to be included. The three choices are (and the pictures of the shirts are pictured above):
#LoughPlaces - “Along with this one of a kind t-shirt, you'll also receive a game ticket located in right field so you'll be able to cheer on David Lough up close and personally!”
o If Royals fans and front office members alike want to move on from Frenchy as quickly as possible, this would be the route to go. It’s a straight-up swap from one name to the next for the right field section, and also features an up and coming player on the Royals roster who is exciting because he could very well be in the Rookie of the Year conversation and he’s also the guy that forced the release of Francoeur. And +1 for being the most creative name of the bunch.
o If this one wins the vote, can you imagine how the Royals would try to implement Garth Brooks even more than he already is? Every time Lough comes up to bat: Friends in Low Places. Every time Lough gets a hit: Friends in Low Places. Every time Lough makes a good play in the outfield: Friends in Low Places. Enough is enough.
#CountryBreakfastClub – “Add some eggs, bacon and BBQ sauce to your baseball experience with the Country Breakfast Club in honor of Royals DH Billy Butler! Fans in this section will be seated in Left-Center Field for the chance to catch a Billy Bomb with BBQ sauce.”
o Kudos to the Royals marketing department for continuing to recognize Billy Butler’s twitter-created nickname. Also, give them a hand for doing a Wheel-of-Fortune style combination of Butler’s nickname with one of the most endearing and memorable films of the 80’s. And of the three proposed shirts the Royals came up with to accompany the promotional night, I believe this one is the best. I mean, it has bacon on it!
o While the fact that this fan seating features a player that doesn’t play in the outfield, or anywhere else on the field for that matter, is unique in its own way, having people sit there for a chance to catch a home run hit by Billy Butler seems like a far-fetched idea considering he’s only got 8 on the season so far. This one could backfire.
#GordoNation – “All-Star and Royals Outfielder Alex Gordon is looking for die-hard fans to join a new seating section in Left Field. Do you have what it takes to be a part of GordoNation?”
o There might not be a more popular player on the Royals right now than Alex Gordon. Fresh off his first All-Star appearance and following two Gold Glove seasons, Gordon makes the most sense to have his own fan section at Royals games. Also, you gotta give it up to the Royals marketing department to combine the words “Gordon” and “Nation” into one word and throw in some patriotic frill. They know what the fans like: simplicity and ‘Merica.
o Honestly, I can’t think of any. Gordon is under contract for several more seasons, he plays that outfield position every day, the guy’s a stud, and he makes amazing plays that has earned him multiple Gold Gloves. I suppose the only downside would be having to move the promotional event from right field to left field, but that even puts you closer to the Royals Hall of Fame which holds Gordon’s Gold Glove trophies as well as a very nasty and battered hat he wore last season.
If I was voting for cleverness, I would go with #LoughPlaces. If I was voting strictly for the coolest shirt, I would go with #CountryBreakfastClub. But for the reasons described above, my ballot is being cast for #GordoNation. Currently, #GordoNation is leading the vote with #CountryBreakfastClub and #LoughPlaces rounding out second and third respectively. But make sure your voice is heard for determining the next Royals fan seating section by voting yourself. Voting ends July 19th at 12:00 PM CT, so be sure to hurry!