Todd Frazier & the Yankees: Perfect Together for Toms River
It’s been a while since a story has generated as much local interest as the one in which Todd Frazier has become a New York Yankee.
Of course not everyone is a Yankee fan or even a baseball fan but most are at least aware of Frazier, who since the age of 12 has been accustomed to the spotlight and usually delivered. Now that the Toms River native and resident is playing for baseball’s most storied franchise only 80 miles away from his home, it’s a pretty big deal to a lot of people.
Frazier, whose older brothers Charlie and Jeff both played pro baseball and are now teachers in the Toms River School District, made his Yankee debut yesterday in Minnesota after arriving from Chicago after the game had already started. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 7th and then was hit by a pitch on the right wrist in the 9th which he said was no big deal.
Many were asking about why he wore #29 yesterday as Todd has worn #21 during his major league career with the Reds and White Sox. He was given #29 when he arrived Wednesday but would like to wear #21 which has not been worn regularly since Paul O’Neill retired in 2001.
It’s unlikely the Yankees will retire that number as two relievers wore it briefly since with both getting harsh treatment from fans before giving it up. Frazier said that when the Yankees get back home next week he will seek O’Neill’s permission to wear #21. O’Neill is a Yankee broadcaster and Frazier chose that number in tribute him as one of his favorite players growing up.
One more note and that is contrary to speculation the 31-year old father of two will play third base on a regular basis beginning tonight in Seattle. Most thought Frazier would move to first base but Yankees manager Joe Girardi is going to have Chase Headley play there and leave Frazier at his natural position.
As anyone who follows me knows I am not a Yankees fan at all but I am very much a Todd Frazier fan and him wearing pinstripes is indeed exciting and hopefully will make for a fun couple of months.