Jeff Francoeur Oct 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Former Atlanta Braves player Jeff Francoeur with a Boys and Girls Club member prior to game three of the 2021 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves have reigned supreme in the National League East for six straight seasons, which includes a 2021 World Series triumph. Now a perennial powerhouse, they seem unstoppable in the regular season, crushing opponents with juggernaut force. Yet, the past two years have ended in the same heartbreak: playoff defeats to the Philadelphia Phillies. While the new format might share some blame, the feeling remains – something needs to change.

Few understand the Atlanta Braves better than Jeff Francoeur. Though he’s reduced his analyst role to spend time with his family — which led to the addition of C.J. Nitkowski to the Bally Sports South broadcast booth — his connection to the team remains strong after six seasons playing for them and seven in their broadcast booth (six as lead analyst).

On Foul Territory, host Scott Braun simply asked Jeff Francoeur if the Braves have lacked aggression in the playoffs the past two seasons.

“Well, I think you’ve gotta have some attitude, man,” said Francoeur. “You can’t just be the nice guys. My point to that is what you said about Bryce Harper. When he came out and did that — and I thought the Braves had a huge chance after Game 2. I mean, they stole that game. They were all but down and out, and they came out and absolutely just played fantastic the last two innings — won the game on the big play.

“And it got to the point that you were just like, man, you’ve got to have something that fires you up. You’ve got to have something that gets you going. And then they showed up there in Game 3, and it just wasn’t there. And so I do; I think you have to play with an edge.

“You have to have a couple of guys. I do think Austin Riley can take over that leadership a little bit and be that guy because that’s one thing I’ll say about (Freddie) Freeman. Freddie would get on guys; he would ride guys. So, when he kind of left, you remember the whole (Ronald) Acuña (Jr.)-Freddie thing. I mean, let’s be honest, the reason he didn’t love him is because he rode him — like he got on him. So, I think Austin Riley needs to kind of step up in that role. And I think he will; he’s a good one to do it.”

As Francoeur suggests, finding their inner “bad guy” could be the missing piece for the Braves to reclaim their October dominance. With Riley’s potential leadership in mind, the Braves might just find the swagger they need to rewrite their October narrative.

[Foul Territory]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.