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However, he still appears to be standing by his silly chin beard. That's the latest out of the Gateway City after deposed closer Ryan Franklin(notes) first criticized St. Louis Cardinals fans for booing his recent struggles, then kind-of apologized to them.

Franklin opened up after Game 1 of a doubleheader on Wednesday, telling reporters: "You should go write stories about the fans booing. They're supposed to be the best fans in baseball. Yeah right."

Someone must have told Franklin that he didn't want to make arch enemies (nudge, nudge) out of the paying customers, because he softened his tone later in the day.

From MLB.com:

"Obviously these last 2 1/2 weeks have been frustrating for me, and I'm frustrated with myself," Franklin said. "I can understand why the fans are frustrated. I've loved my time here in St. Louis. It's my favorite place to play. It's just a frustrating time for me right now, because I feel like I'm letting everyone down."

And so on and so forth. For players, it's almost never a good idea to criticize fans. It's better to say nothing, even if you happen to be in the right. And I'm not saying Franklin is. Players should expect fans, even their own fans — even "baseball's best fans" — to boo at some point when things go poorly. This is not a recent phenomenon.

It's especially true for a high-visibility position such as closer, and it's double-especially so when the closer has a 9.45 ERA and four blown saves in five opportunities.

Franklin obviously realizes this, even if it's a little late. Here's what happens now: If he gets people out, the boos will stop and maybe he'll even get back his ninth-inning job.

Sound good?

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