During spring training, top Yankees prospect Clint Frazier made some headlines with his long red hair, long red hair that seemed to violate the club’s longstanding hair policy. Not only did Frazier eventually get a haircut to conform to team rules, the Yankees made a spectacle about it on Twitter:
Good morning, @Yankees fans. The Yankees barbershop is open for business...first customer, @clintfrazier. pic.twitter.com/9dM8r5bVwa— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 10, 2017
Since the hair incident -- hair incident! -- Frazier, who went to the Yankees in last summer’s Andrew Miller trade, has been under the microscope. The 22-year-old hit .273 during his first big-league camp and the media made sure to point out every time he, say, misplayed a fly ball or made a baserunning mistake.
The New York media is tough, and since Alex Rodriguez isn’t around to kick around anymore, they’ve had to find a new target. Frazier seems to be the guy. On Wednesday, Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman made an appearance on the “Joe & Evan” show on WFAN in New York, during which she passed along a story in which Frazier allegedly asked whether the Yankees unretired numbers, because he wants to wear Mickey Mantle’s No. 7.
Here’s the audio:
“Did you hear the Clint story that Clint Frazier actually asked the Yankees if they ever unretire numbers?” Waldman asked as the hosts laughed. “He wanted No. 7.”
Needless to say, the immediate reaction among fans and other members of the media was not favorable for Frazier. “The punk kid who wouldn’t cut his hair went and asked for Mickey Mantle’s number, what a dope.” That sort of stuff. Fair or unfair, Frazier has already become a target, and this added more fuel to the fire.
A few hours after Waldman’s radio appearance, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman shot down the story, saying it is “totally untrue” that Frazier asked for No. 7. Cashman told ESPN’s Andrew Marchand he checked with people in the organization and that it “never happened.” Here’s more from Cashman:
"When I heard it I called (equipment manager) Rob Cucuzza and he said it never happened. I called Gary Denbo on the minor league side— George A. King III (@GeorgeAKingIII) April 5, 2017
And he said no. (PR VP) Jason Zillo called Frazier and he said it never happened."— George A. King III (@GeorgeAKingIII) April 5, 2017
Meanwhile, here’s what Frazier had to say about all of this:
Ready to play some baseball. i care more about the front of the jersey than the back.— Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) April 5, 2017
i appreciate Suzyn reaching out and I accept her apology. i would never ask for a legends number.— Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) April 5, 2017
Regardless of whether the story is true, it’s already out there, and in the court of public opinion, those who don’t like Frazier have deemed him guilty. He’s never going to hear the end of it.