TAMPA — The Yankee got clipped.
Yes, after further consultation, Clint Frazier has finally reined in his mane.
No more long red mop. No more ponytail.
At 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Frazier got his haircut and was seen sporting a shorter, curly cut on top with his sides buzzed in the Yankees’ clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field.
“I like my hair, but I love playing for this organization more,” Frazier said.
Frazier, who came in with two hits in his previous 15 at-bats, singled in his first plate appearance during Friday’s 5-0 exhibition victory over the Phillies in Clearwater. He finished 1-for-3.
The Yankees plan to donate Frazier’s hair to Locks of Love, a charity that helps create wigs for children with cancer.
Frazier spoke with Reggie Jackson, Joe Girardi and others in the organization and got their input before making his decision.
“I had a talk to with Joe yesterday and we both agreed that it was time for it to be cut,” Frazier said. “It had started to become a distraction. I just want to play. That’s what I want to do.”
The Yankees have had a strict, clean-cut policy since the days of late owner George Steinbrenner.
“I asked him. I talked to him a little bit about it and he said, ‘OK, I’m going to cut it,’” said Girardi, who added that Frazier’s hair and its former length — above his shoulders — was already compliant. “You always have a choice in life. He had a choice. But he wants baseball to be the focus, not his hair. He’s talked all along that he wants his baseball to be the focus, and a lot of times it’s not. And I want his baseball to be the focus, too.”
One of the Yankees’ most highly touted prospects, Frazier, 22, has a big personality. With it, has come a lot of attention.
“It’s not been uncomfortable for me,” Frazier said. “I think that in the past I’ve performed well enough to kind of draw some attention to myself, so I’ve gotten used to it a little bit. But I’m just trying to be a good teammate and respect the guys around me and ultimately be a part of something special here.”
It’s the first time his hair has been this short since his parents made him cut it around the seventh grade.
Jackson, who has tried to serve as a mentor of sorts to Frazier, told him he needed to wrap up his interview and head to the cage for batting practice.
“I thought he was concerned about fitting in with the Yankees and the way we do things,” Jackson said. “Certainly the idea came from others and there were a lot of people that had that conversation with him and tried to get him to understand. I think when you first come here I think it takes time for some of the younger people to understand the Yankee Way. … One of the greatest comments I’ve ever heard is when Mariano (Rivera) said, ‘The pinstripes are heavy in New York.’ And I think that Clint understands that and wants to be part of it. He wants to get rid of the distraction.”
Frazier attributed his struggles last season at Triple-A Scranton following his trade to the Yankees to putting too much pressure on himself to produce. He always plays aggressively, but knows he needs to harness that. He also needs to harness his emotions, too. It’s all part of the maturation process.
“I think he’s doing great. I think this is a great step in the right direction that he’s doing this, and I think he deserves credit for it,” Jackson said. “It takes time for us to change sometimes. And I don’t know if I can remember back to how I thought when I was 22. But I sure as hell was a wild antelope in the woods, that’s for sure.”
Asked if he could relate to what Frazier was going through, Jackson said, “He maybe went through it for a couple days. Phew. I went through some times for months. It was a tough road for me for a long time. It took me a while, but I got it after a while. He’s way ahead of me. I wrestled with the city. I don’t know if I won.
“He’s going be fine. I think he had his best day in the batting cage today. He said, ‘Boy, I feel relaxed.’”
Said Girardi: “We’ve told all of the players: we want you to be yourself. I think it’s important that guys are themselves, as long as it doesn’t become detrimental or a distraction to the team.
“So in saying that, I didn’t think his hair was detrimental to the team. It’s hair for crying out loud, right? There are a lot of us that probably wish we had that hair, right? So it’s over and I said it’ll be a story today, then this will be over with and people will stop talking about it.”
Added Girardi: “If this is my biggest distraction this year, I’m in really good shape. I’ll sign up for this every year.”
Published at Fri, 10 Mar 2017 22:57:49 +0000