Clint Frazier Defends Ghosting Media...

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T15D23
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Clint Frazier Defends Ghosting Media...

Postby T15D23 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:27 pm

Clint Frazier defends ghosting the media after his inability to defend against the Red Sox
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TORONTO — Clint Frazier stood at his locker in the visitor’s clubhouse at the Rogers Centre and waited for someone to ask him a question. The outfielder and a group of more than a dozen reporters stood silently for a few seconds, then Frazier was asked what went wrong in Sunday night’s poor defensive game against the Red Sox. He explained about a ball that skipped past him — that he had misread the backspin and didn’t expect it to take the late hop that it did.

But his occasion for facing a scrum of reporters pregame was not to lay out the particulars of the plays that got away from him Sunday night. Two days later, and following an off-day entirely, the reasons for his latest defensive lapses no longer really mattered. He struggled, it cost the Yankees, that series is over. Primarily, Frazier addressed his decision not to appear at his locker Sunday night after the Yankees’ loss.

Frazier, who hit a two-run home run later in the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays, was emotional as he spoke to reporters pregame, but stood his ground. Over the course of eight minutes before the team’s scheduled hitters’ meeting, Frazier flowed between criticism over the coverage he receives to contrition over how his play affected his teammates in the Sunday night loss.

“I don’t regret it,” Frazier said of his decision not to talk to reporters postgame Sunday (he later issued a statement to ESPN).”I don’t think that I owe anyone an explanation because it’s not a rule that I have to speak.”

A rule or not (and vague language in the CBA leaves that up to interpretation), speaking to reporters postgame when requested is standard practice in Major League Baseball and with the Yankees in particular. Fans, understandably, may not care whether or not a player talks to media after a bad game. Often, the answers they offer are little more than clichés, platitudes and other sanitized explanations that don’t actually help reporters or fans learn more about what went wrong.

As it pertains to Frazier, though, the dominant issue is not whether his ghosting episode offended the reporters who cover him or the fans who follow along at home. The problem is the Yankees communicate to their players that speaking to reporters even after bad games is an expectation that comes along with wearing the pinstripes and playing in New York.

“Obviously part of being a big league player and certainly part of being here is, we want our guys to always respond when you have certainly played a specific role in a ballgame and that’s part of being a pro and being a big league ballplayer and a New York Yankee,” manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday.

Frazier made it clear when he spoke Tuesday that he was deeply upset with his own defensive play on Sunday and throughout the season overall, but also that he felt no obligation to speak about his performance because he’s found coverage of him with the Yankees to be unfair.

Typically, Frazier is one of the most open players in the Yankees clubhouse when it comes to talking with reporters, and he is well aware that he typically gives the press more authentic and less guarded perspective than many of his teammates. Some players choose to avoid press coverage of themselves during the season; Frazier makes sure he knows what is written about him.

“I’ve owned up to my mistakes in the past saying that it shouldn’t happen,” Frazier said about his outfield struggles this year. “Since I got traded over here it’s been some stories that shouldn’t have came out that came out. It’s difficult because the way that I’m perceived by people is not how I think that I really am.”

Specifically, Frazier referenced two stories from 2017, one about the length of his hair (which he said Tuesday and has said in the past was cleared by the Yankees before it became A Thing), and one about him reportedly unknowingly requesting Mickey Mantle’s number. Additionally, he referenced broadcaster Michael Kay saying “shame on Clint Frazier for not getting healthy” on-air last season while the outfielder was dealing with concussion symptoms. Kay apologized to Frazier at the time and the two were said to have hashed things out.

“I think there’s been stories that have been really blown out of proportion,” Frazier said Tuesday.

So, after what he described as “the most difficult game of my professional career in the outfield,” he felt no responsibility to re-hash what everyone tuning into ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball had seen for themselves. But, when a player declines to speak about his own performance after a game, the burden inevitably turns to his teammates. On Sunday night, Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit were asked to account for Frazier’s defense.

“I know that I let them down by not standing in front of the media,” Frazier said Tuesday, “but I let them down more by my defensive performance. I want them to know that I’m trying as hard as I can and I wanna be here more than anything.”

Frazier’s effort to improve defensively is unquestioned. Multiple times in the last week Boone has referred to him “working his tail off” pregame with outfield coach Reggie Willits and Aaron Judge (before Judge went to Tampa to continue his injury rehab process). “The work we’re seeing we believe will eventually translate,” Boone said Tuesday.

But that success can’t come soon enough for Frazier, who said he stood out in right field Sunday night and listened to the crowd behind him criticizing his play against the Red Sox.

“That’s the first time that I’ve been in that position, where I could hear everything that everyone was saying,” he admitted. “It’s not a fun feeling.”

So, a couple of hours later, when faced with the option of swallowing emotion and pride to speak with reporters about his poor defensive outing, Frazier felt an appearance was unnecessary.

“I didn’t feel like I needed to stand in front of everyone and explain myself,” he said. “The plays were what they were. I sucked. I lost us the game. Everyone knew what I did wrong, and that’s what it came down to.”
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