Jeff Francoeur Should Expect Coal in His Stocking This Christmas

Jeff Francoeur Should Expect Coal in His Stocking This Christmas

By most accounts, Jeff Francoeur is a solid guy. I've sat just a few rows back in the outfield at CBP and watched him have some fun banter with Phillies fans. He just seemed to get that baseball is supposed to be fun, and treating the opposing team's fans like children -- *cough* Melky *cough* -- isn't a good way to go to work everyday.

Unfortunately for him, his 2010 season is doomed because he dressed up like Santa at the Mets' holiday party.

At the very end of an article in the New York Times on Tuesday about the Mets going from bystanders to buyers, there's a wonderful nugget that will put you in the holiday spirit. If your name is Scrooge, that is.

Jeff Francoeur played Santa Claus
at the Christmas party, a role that has often come with its share of
misfortune the following season. In 2004, Mike Cameron played Santa,
then had a serious outfield collision with Carlos Beltran the following
August that put him on the disabled list for the remainder of the
season. In 2005, Kris Benson was Santa and was then traded to the Orioles
a month after the party. It is believed his wife Anna’s provocative
attire at the party contributed to the trade. In 2007, John Maine was
Santa and had an injury-plagued season, and last year it was Mike
Pelfrey, who struggled in 2009.

This likely means only one thing, the real Saint Nick is a Phillies fan and doesn't like when a stinkin' Met tries to steal his style.

Tim Quarterman: Ben Simmons at PG will 'work out well' for Sixers

Tim Quarterman: Ben Simmons at PG will 'work out well' for Sixers

There are only a handful of people who have played basketball extensively with Ben Simmons, given he has been sidelined thus far into his rookie season with a foot injury. Those who spent Simmons’ freshman year at LSU with him have firsthand insight into the NBA player he has the potential to become.

“He's definitely a team player,” Tim Quarterman said. “He's a pass-first person. He wants to see his teammates do well. I think when he comes back to play, that's what he'll bring to Philly. He's not one of those people who just tries to go out there to get a 100 points. He's a good teammate.”

Quarterman was the Tigers’ point guard during Simmons’ only season in college. Quarterman left school after his junior year and earned a spot on the Trail Blazers' roster. He and Simmons have different stories: Simmons was the first overall pick; Quarterman went undrafted. Simmons has has been out since training camp; Quarterman, while playing sparingly, has experienced live NBA action. Still, the two have shared in the journey of life in the league. 

“It's a cool process going through our rookie season together,” Quarterman said before the Trail Blazers faced the Sixers Friday. “Even though he's not playing right now, he's working to get on the court. I'm sure he'll do great when he gets back out there. I got a chance to talk to him last night. Everything's been good so far.”

The Sixers got a small glimpse of Simmons during training camp before he suffered a Jones fracture on the final day. He recently began participating in 5-on-0 drills. Simmons also has been putting up shots after practice and doing light courtwork during pregame warmups. 

Brett Brown has said he intends to start the 6-foot-10 Simmons at the one spot when he returns. As part of his multi-faceted rehab, Brown has been giving Simmons written tests in which he has to navigate various in-game situations as the point guard. Simmons played point-forward at LSU, where he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. 

“He'll be able to space the floor,” Quarterman said of Simmons at the point. “He can see over the defense and make passes that some little guards can't. He can defend. He can move his feet well. I think it'll work out well.”

It remains to be seen when the former teammates will both be suited up in the same NBA game. There is no timetable set for Simmons’ return. The Sixers face the Trail Blazers for their second and final meeting of the regular season on March 9 in Portland. 

“It's cool for both of us to be making the best of our opportunity,” Quarterman said.