Jeff Francoeur appeared on Foul Territory earlier this week and had a plethora of things to say about the Braves and their postseason failures over the last two seasons against the Phillies.
Most notably, he discussed how there seems to be a lack of leadership in the clubhouse since the departure of Freddie Freeman, describing the Braves as a bunch of nice guys. It sounds a bit harsh, but the same sentiments were echoed earlier this offseason by current players such as A.J. Minter and Austin Riley.
Francoeur also alluded to the feud that took place last season between Bryce Harper and Orlando Arcia — the infamous “Atta boy Harper,” which seemed to motivate the Phillies and ultimately be the straw that broke the mighty Braves’ back.
“How are you the best team in baseball and you don’t know who your game 3 starter is going to be” Frenchy speaks on the “atta boy Harper” situation and the Braves struggles pic.twitter.com/K0BY1iYSMo
— Dillion Harper (@og_yungdilly) February 6, 2024
The way the Braves handled the entire “Atta Boy Harper” situation was actually more embarrassing than the series itself.
I’m not sure where Atlanta’s confidence went in the postseason, but they were historically great and acted like they didn’t belong the entire series. Harper took those comments personally and rose to the moment, even if he knew deep down there was no malice to what Arcia was saying in the clubhouse. That’s what big time players do, exude confidence and rise to the occasion. Harper didn’t need motivation to put the nail in the Braves’ coffin, but he damn well welcomed some.
The Braves, on the other hand — and not just Orlando Arcia — responded to the situation like dogs with tails tucked between their legs. Instead of owning it, they criticized the media about the sanctity of the locker room. Frankly, it was embarrassing.
I was waiting for somebody, anybody, to step up and say, “Who the hell cares? Yeah, Orlando Arcia said it and we got his back.”
This was a playoff series against a division rival that knocked you out the year before, and you’re more worried about saving face and hoping Bryce Harper doesn’t beat you up rather than returning the favor. At that moment, I knew the Braves had no chance in Game 4.
Somebody on the Braves has to step up and remind this team who they are when the going gets tough. It’s easy to have confidence when you’re winning, but there comes a point in every season when that confidence is tested. The Braves have failed that test each of the last two years, and if nothing changes, they will fail again in 2024.
Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire