Clint Frazier: “At the end of the day, you can’t change who someone is”

Clint Frazier 2020 flying under the radar (NY Post)

Clint Frazier is not the person who uttered those words. They come from a teammate who seems to have a pulse on the Yankees outfielder. Let me explain. 

Clint Frazier is trying this again. Now in his fourth Spring Training with the Yankees since coming to the team in a trade with Cleveland, Frazier remains in a search to land a spot as the 25th or 26th man.

Tyler Wade, New York Yankees
Tyler Wade, New York Yankees (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

As always, Frazier is not to be counted out, but at the same time, no one in a position of authority on the Yankees is standing on the top step of the dugout cheering him on.

Oh, the accolades about his having the “quickest bat” on the team are still there.

But so is the competition, said this year to be Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, and Mike Ford. Two of the four are likely to go North with the Yankees.

The other two will occupy space with the Yankees Triple-A team in Scranton; territory Clint Frazier is all too familiar with.

Clint Frazier: Same Dream – Different Approach

The Clint Frazier we see today is a man trying to forge a new path to reach his goal. More reserved, and (hopefully) more mature, Frazier gave a clue before he said anything to Ken Davidoff, who contacted him for an interview on Friday.

The first words from Clint Frazier’s mouth – “I’m going to be careful how I word it because I don’t want to stir anything,” are telling.

And as Davidoff says, mark progress in the development of a young man trying to find not only a spot on the Yankees but himself as well.

Frazier: Ouch, The History

Yankees fans are well aware of the litany of missteps Frazier has inflicted on himself over the years.

But perspective is essential, and they bear repeating to capture the spirit of a baseball career than can just as quickly plummet as rising to the highest of levels.

Mickey Mantle, Monument Park, Yankee Stadium
Mickey Mantle, Monument Park, Yankee Stadium

The flaming red hair first captured our attention, along with a debate about cutting it down to “Yankees” size that should never have happened. Translation – distraction.

Then came the incident and ensuing controversy surrounding – did he say it or didn’t he – about donning the uniform of Yankee’s icon Mickey Mantle. Translation – distraction.

And then, perhaps the proverbial straw that broke Clint Frazier’s back in the eyes of the Yankees.

It occurred last year when he took a three-day excursion (all legal and within the bounds of the Player’s Contract) before he reported to Scranton after being sent down by the Yankees.

So, there’s a history, and for the most part, it’s all about the behavior of Clint Frazier. Once, he was the fifth overall draft pick in the entire 2013 college draft.

Today he sits with the Yankees, who, for good reasons, do not wish to get too close to the fire.

But it’s back to the title of this piece and the words that were expressed by Yankees veteran and de facto team captain, Brett Gardner, as he spoke about Frazier.

Brett Gardner: Sage Of The Yankees

I’ll put it another way to suggest the same observation as Gardner: You can’t put a square peg in a round hole.

Gardner, in his comments to the New York Post, pretty much echoes what everyone has been saying for years:

“He’s a guy that’s got a ton of talent, and I still think he’s got a very bright future, career ahead of him,” Gardner said of Frazier. “He helped us in some big ways last year. Some big, big ways when we really needed him.” Ken Davidoff, New York Post

The key for Clint Frazier then seems to be to find the balance between the person he is that can’t, as Gardner has expressed, and the person he needs to be to have a career in the major leagues and the New York Yankees.

Products Of Our Environment

We are all products of the environment we grew up in, and Clint Frazier is no different. Some would describe him as a “good ole Southern boy” who was born into a man’s body at an early age, but the rest of him is still trying to catch up.

Clint Frazier: Main Street in hometown Logansville, George
Clint Frazier: Main Street in hometown Logansville, George

Clint Frazier was born in Loganville, Georgia, to Mark Frazier, a salesman, and his wife Kim, a preschool teacher, light years removed from Yankee Stadium and the lights of New York City.

Frazier’s Wikipedia biography states he attended high school, but there is no mention that he graduated.

Like so many other athletes, he committed to attend the University of Georgia on a college baseball scholarship to play for the Georgia Bulldogs.

He was considered one of the best prospects available in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft.

Clint Frazier: Turning A Corner In 2020

Clint Frazier is a baseball player. It defines his life yesterday as much as it does today.

Still, nothing is more important than putting this (video) that wreaks of trying to make the best of a bad situation behind him.

Frazier’s decision to fly under the radar in this year’s Yankee Spring Training camp (hopefully) signals the maturation of a young man the Yankees would love to have in their lineup, if not their outfield.

But even there, when speaking about the challenges facing him defensively, Clint Frazier offers and upbeat but still sobering evaluation of himself. “I tried to kick in the door, but I don’t think I kicked it in enough, but I think I cracked it.”

Much like Greg Bird, who has faced adversity over the years with an injury-plagued time with the Yankees, and is now getting close to winning a job as the Texas Rangers starting first baseman, Yankees fans, as a whole, remain in Clint Frazier’s corner.

Turning the corner, however, is the challenge. We’ll soon know if Clint Frazier is putting the last piece of the puzzle in place.

I venture to suggest the secret to all animals sustaining life on this planet is adapting to the environment we find ourselves faced with.

Clint Frazier appears to be at a crossroads in making the transition to realize he is a major league ballplayer – or just another soul who gets swept under the tow of a person trying to be one.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.