Clint Frazier caught plenty of flack when he had the defensive inning of his nightmares during a Sunday Night Baseball game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, one of the sport’s biggest stages.
The young outfielder caught even more flack after the game when he refused to talk to the media, a rarity among Yankees players. That led to plenty of criticism from columnists and the like for not stepping up and taking responsibility for his miscues.
Before the Yankees’ next game on Tuesday, Frazier finally spoke with the media. He wasn’t exactly apologetic.
Clint Frazier’s trilogy of error
Frazier got to this point thanks to a seventh inning that saw the game, and a chance at a sweep, get away from the Yankees in the span of four batters. You can see a video of Frazier’s miscues here.
First, Frazier allowed what should have been a line drive single from Eduardo Nunez to bounce past him and reach the Yankee Stadium wall. Two batters later, he approached a Mookie Betts pop-up too slowly and left a tough play to second-baseman D.J. LeMahieu, who at least managed to get the out. Finally, Frazier ended the sequence by diving for Andrew Benintendi’s fly ball and accidentally bouncing the ball several feet away from him, then missing severely a throw to home plate.
What started as a 3-2 Red Sox lead turned into a 6-2 lead, with Boston eventually winning 8-5. Frazier was only assessed an error on his first miscue, but it was pretty clear all three of the plays could have gone differently with a different right-fielder.
Frazier was booed by the Yankee Stadium crowd when he came to the plate in the bottom of the inning, and social media had a blast with his performance.
Discussion of Frazier’s rough night was amplified even further after the game when Yankee officials told the media that Frazier would not be speaking, leaving his teammates to talk to the media for him.
Frazier: ‘It’s not a rule that I have to speak’
With his thoughts likely a little more gathered after what must have been one of the hardest nights of his career, Frazier spoke to reporters and didn’t hold back on what he thought about people saying he needed to speak.
From ESPN’s Marly Rivera:
“No, I don’t regret it. And to be fair, I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation because it’s not a rule that I have to speak. I know that it came out that I was ducking the media, but that was not what I am trying to do. I have owned up to my mistakes in the past; saying that it shouldn’t happen. Since I got traded over here it’s been some stories that shouldn’t have come out that have come out. And it’s difficult because the way I am perceived by people is not how I think I really am. Stories that shouldn’t be stories have been stories. It started with the hair. Then it started with me asking for a number that I didn’t ask for. Then it started with another guy saying I should be out on the field playing through a concussion. And it’s been difficult and I don’t feel like it’s been fair at times. I don’t owe an apology for not talking.”
There’s quite a bit to unpack there. While there isn’t technically a rule that players must speak to the media, James Wagner of The New York Times does point out that Section 7 of the collective bargaining agreement says something roughly to that effect:
“It is very important to our game that ALL players are available to the media for reasonable periods, and it is the player’s responsibility to cooperate.”
As far as the second half of that comment goes, it’s an interesting recounting of some incidents of which Frazier still clearly holds some resentment.
Why doesn’t Clint Frazier like the media?
Frazier referenced three past run-ins with the media. The hair refers to a past controversy when Frazier had to cut his former trademark red locks after Yankees manager Joe Girardi called his hair “a distraction.”
The number Frazier said he didn’t ask for was when Yankees announcer Suzyn Waldman reported that he had asked if the Yankees ever un-retire numbers, with an apparent eye on Mickey Mantle’s No. 7. The Yankees and Frazier denied it ever happened, and the broadcaster reportedly apologized.
The concussion reference was when Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay said, “Shame on Clint Frazier for not getting healthy” when Frazier was out with a concussion. Kay later said he was being facetious, but Frazier was unamused.
It might be worth noting that the instigators in each of those run-ins, the manager and the two broadcasters, were all Yankees employees. Still, it’s easy to see why Frazier and the media might have started on a bad foot, and why the 24-year-old would already have some mistrust when it comes to something as simple as postgame comments.
Frazier at least seemed to somewhat soften up after his rant against the media, acknowledging that while he might not owe it to the media, he owes it to his teammates to speak to reporters.
From The New York Times:
“I don’t want them to have to speak for me,” said Frazier, who also avoided reporters when he landed on the injured list earlier this season. “But I also want to be on the same page as everyone in there, so I should’ve been standing in front of my locker.”
Even with that resolve, speaking to reporters after the game was probably easier Tuesday. Frazier, as a designated hitter, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer against the Blue Jays.
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