His minor league teammates got Jeff Francoeur good.
Antihero Baseball/Daylight Films/YouTube
DETROIT — Jeff Francoeur’s former Indians teammates pretty much had the same reaction as most when they saw the video of the prank involving him — laughter and surprise that it could last so long.
Francoeur, who is with the Padres Triple-A affiliate in El Paso, was convinced by teammates that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf. The video of the prank was posted on YouTube over the weekend and many of the Indians saw it on Sunday after their game against the White Sox.
"It was funnier because it was him," Indians outfielder David Murphy said on Tuesday. "It almost reminds me of the movie ‘Prestige’ where the musician lives the secret to make the act what it is. Whoever made the movie, they did a great job."
The YouTube description said the prank lasted a month but Francoeur was released by the Indians on March 22 and signed by San Diego three days later.
No one knew whose idea it was to do the prank or the seven-minute video but Francoeur and Blaine Boyer each came up through the Braves system.
"It kind of fell into their lap. How long are we going to do this? He’ll eventually figure it out but after awhile it is time to end this one because it is losing its comedic value," said Justin Masterson. "I imagine after awhile there are some who are still laughing but it wasn’t as funny as it was anymore. It becomes funny again because you put a video together."
Most wondered why Francoeur wasn’t a bit skeptical of what was going on, especially after Reyes’ wife said during dinner that the couple used text messages and hand signals to communicate. Mike Aviles said for him that would have been a red flag. Aviles also noted that he would have done an Internet search to find out all he could about Reyes.
Aviles added: "He’s one of the nicest guys but also very alert and smart. How did you get this by him? That’s a good team over there. That shows you what a team is."
When asked if the Indians clubhouse could carry out that elaborate a stunt, many doubted they could. Masterson said the highlight of the video was when Francoeur found out about it — while he was watching a portion of the video. Francoeur was speechless and just looked around when he found out the prank was on him.