There are fewer things better than October baseball. Anything can happen. Watching on TV is one thing but being there is something else entirely. There is no bad seat. The atmosphere is electric. The stadium is rocking. The crowd is on its feet, chanting and screaming and clapping and booing. You’re either with them or against them; there is no in between.
And then there’s nothing quite like New York October baseball. The New York Yankees know October. They’ve done this time and time and time again, just with some new faces each year. New Jersey-raised Rutgers Baseball alum Todd Frazier is one of them.
Frazier was traded to the Yankees from the Chicago White Sox back in July, exactly three months and a day ago.
The Yankees brought Frazier in to help in a potential playoff run and help he has. He has been crucial to the Yankees’ postseason success. He had his “Welcome to the Bronx” moment and then some.
Once down 0-2 in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees stormed back in Game 3 for an 8-1 win. In Game 4, another elimination game for New York, Frazier hit an RBI double in the second inning, the first of four runs scored in that frame. He put the team in a position to score more runs and take control of the game.
Now comes Game 5. It’s win or go home and it had all of the drama you want it have. Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorious put the Yankees up 3-0 with a pair of home runs but Cleveland cut the lead to just one. In the top of the ninth inning, outfielder Aaron Hicks reaches on a single. An out later, Frazier comes to bat and draws a nine-pitch, two-out walk. Left fielder Brett Gardner hits a single after a long at-bat and allows Frazier to score, giving the Yankees another insurance run heading to the bottom of the ninth. They close it out.
That's how it's done. Yankee baseball we play until the end. Let's goooooo pic.twitter.com/7Xc0ibSM42— Todd Frazier (@FlavaFraz21) October 12, 2017
Down 0-2 (again) in the ALCS against the Houston Astros, the Yankees knew they had to come up big as the series headed to the Bronx for three games. The ToddFather delivered.
The Pride of Toms River!— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 17, 2017
Toddfather with his 1st career postseason HR and it puts us up 3-0! pic.twitter.com/Ru8g8Ga64M
He smacked his first career postseason home run to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the second inning of Game 3. It was all the team needed to down the Astros, 8-1, due to C.C. Sabathia’s outstanding pitching performance. It gave the team some much-needed momentum and the crowd something to cheer about. Welcome home.
And those moments are just the beginning. Frazier has continually put together long at-bats, wearing down opposing pitchers, and has given the Yankees a chance to score some runs every time he’s at bat. He had two more hits in game 4 of the ALCS in another Yankee win as well.
And while he’s been a key player on the field, his contributions off of it are unmatched. No one is having more fun in that locker room right now than Todd Frazier. He brings excitement to the locker room. He has a boyish enthusiasm for the game. He gets to play in a pennant race for the team he grew up watching.
During a rescheduled Yankees/Rays game at Citi Field, Frazier hit a go-ahead three-run homer to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead. A disgruntled Mets fan celebrated with thumbs down. Frazier was later shown the gesture and adopted it, using it two days later after hitting an RBI single. The thumb down has become a rallying cry for the Yankees and their fans. It’s plastered on t-shirts. It’s taken on a life of its own but it represents the excitement and the passion for the game that Frazier brings to the clubhouse.
It’s infectious. The Yankees are fun again, and Frazier has a lot to do with that. The players on the team like him and so do the fans. They’ve fully embraced him and his role on the team, and he’s been fun to watch.
Frazier is set to become a free agent at the end of the season but there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played. The Yankees hold a 3-2 lead over the ‘Stros heading into Game 6 of the ALCS tonight in Houston and if there’s anyone who can come up with a timely hit, it’s Todd Frazier.