2011: A Chiefs Odyssey: Jason’s Number 10
Kev, I definitely did not get to celebrate Adam Fox’s grand slam nearly as much as you did. I was in the Gwinnett radio booth, filling in for our pal Tony Schiavone. Tony had a work conflict and asked me to sub for him that day. As Tony spent his earlier years as a wrestling announcer, I watched clips like this over and over in order to prepare:
No truth to the nasty rumor that I learned how to throw a chair to be an authentic Schiavone stand-in.
#10 The Toms River Revue
It is a fact of life in most baseball clubhouses that, generally, hitters want to be pitchers and pitchers want to be hitters. Frankly, most of us non-players want to be something we’re not. Just ask Rodney Dangerfield.
As an aside, it’s very unlikely “Ladybugs” would ever be made again. Child dresses up as woman to play soccer for stepfather isn’t exactly box office gold.
The point is, players like to do other things on the diamond. A few, like Rick Ankiel and Tony Pena Jr., sling and swing for an extended period. Most only get to see both sides of the home plate matchup in odd scenarios. Yunesky Maya pinch ran this year in the case of a short bench. A handful of pitchers pinch-hit late in games. But the most notable miscast performance came from the pride of New Jersey, Jeff Frazier.
To fully comprehend this story of Jeff Frazier–a 2011 Chiefs outfielder–you must know his persona. Frazier’s Jersey twang–especially noticeable in what amounts to his catchphrase, “How you doin?'”– makes him a perfect extra for a remake of A Bronx Tale. His passion for the game is strong. His passion for competition is even stronger. His passion for entertainment is yet stronger (in the midst of the Chiefs pre-Hurricane Irene planning for a trip to Allentown, Frazier called the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and asked if their gift shop sold snorkels and flippers. Frazier wasn’t terribly pleased to be traveling through a possible disaster area.)
Jeff’s Tri-State zeal is likely what even placed him in a position to be #10 on this list. On April 21st, on a blustery Spring afternoon in Rhode Island, Pawtucket scored nine runs in the third inning and led 14 to zero. Randy Knorr used Lee Hyde, Adam Carr and Josh Wilkie to sop up five innings of mostly successful, yet rather painful, relief. After that three-part harmony, Knorr decided that he didn’t want to deploy any other of his bullpen arms. So, he told Jeff Frazier to get warm. We were told later that Frazier’s idea of a warmup was exactly zero pitches. He was born ready. Frazier, though, was coerced into tossing at least a few times to oblige pitching coach Greg Booker.
The first batter Frazier faced, Yamaico Navarro, popped out. As Frazier threw only a sparing amount of breaking pitches (see also: one), this conversation (and 2-2 pitch) ensued.
Frazier allowed a hit to Drew Sutton, but no runs. A single appearance, though, wasn’t all for the Toms River Twirler. In what likely was the Chiefs’ last game in Scranton until 2013, Frazier jogged out of the bullpen to relieve Collin Balester down 14 again. Opponent number one, Jesus Montero, had homered earlier in the night. Frazier walked him on four pitches. After a sacrifice fly from Mike Lamb, Frazier walked Jorge Vazquez, who also homered earlier. Frazier sidestepped–but also meaningfully threw inside on–both batters. The last hitter, Jordan Parraz, popped out and ended the inning. Two outings, no runs. And a smile on Frazier’s face afterward both nights.
Kev, I am appalled that Jeff Frazier didn’t make it onto your list. How do you think he’d feel about being left off?
Perhaps the real question is, how would Garrett Mock’s Jeff Frazier impersonation feel about being left off?