Outfielder Jeff Francoeur signed a minor deal with the San Diego Padres in March after failing to make the Cleveland Indians roster this spring. Upon signing, the 30-year-old was quickly assigned to the Padres Triple-A affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas, and waiting for him there was a mischievous group of baseball players looking for a target to hit with their next elaborate prank.
Spoiler: Francoeur was the target, and they got the nine-year major league veteran hook, line and sinker.
The entire Chihuahuas roster banded together to get in on the prank, which they were able to keep going for over a month. And it wasn't easy, because the prank involved making Francoeur believe that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf. Naturally that took a well coordinated effort that involved everybody from the coaches, trainers, waitresses, to even Reyes' wife. Reyes even had to sacrifice a little bit, giving up listening to music in the clubhouse and basically staying silent (maybe the joke was on him, too).
But the beauty of it is Francoeur bought in the whole time.
The entirety of the prank was documented by Chihuahuas' utilityman Cody Decker, who released a short film titled "On Jeff Ears" on Youtube over the weekend. In it, he uncovers who all was behind the prank, many of their roles, and, of course, Jeff Francoeur's reaction when he finally learned he got pranked by new his teammates.
It's a hilarious piece of business that would surely receive a nomination in the "Best sports team prank" category at the Oscars. If only such a category existed.
BLS H/N: Hardball Talk
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