Is Todd Frazier a marked man with MLB umpires?
The Mets third baseman played the role of hero Thursday when he capped a dramatic ninth-inning comeback for New York with a walk-off home run to left field.
Frazier giddily made his way around the bases, rounding third and heading for home to jump into the arms of his waiting teammates. There was only one problem, though: Also waiting for him at home plate standing directly in the middle of the dish was umpire Tom Hallion … and he didn’t move as Frazier got to home plate, leading to one of the more awkward interactions you’ll see on a baseball diamond.
Bizarre, right? So, what gives?
If you watch the entire at-bat, there are only two pitches before the home run, neither of them very controversial. It doesn’t seem like there’s some sort of umpire-player beef over a missed call.
How’s this for a theory? Frazier might be on the bad side of umpires everywhere after a stunt he pulled last week against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Frazier fell into the stands trying to make a catch. When he started to climb back onto the field, he was holding a baseball. The umpire came over, saw Frazier with the ball and called the batter out. The issue, though, is Frazier wasn’t holding the game ball. He picked up a different ball in the stands and played it off like he caught the batted ball when he didn’t.
“Just one of those things: It is Hollywood, so sometimes you’ve gotta act it out a little,” Frazier later said, admitting to (somewhat unknowingly) duping the umpire. ” … I was flabbergasted I got away with it. It was one of those things where I think any third baseman or any player would try to do.”
Now back to Thursday. Is it possible Hallion’s awkward standoff is somehow related to Frazier making an umpire look dumb last week? Given how sensitive umpires can be, it certainly seems possible. This was a very out-of-the-ordinary interaction, and Hallion’s body language certainly seems to indicate some perturbance.
Perhaps Frazier’s “ass is in the jackpot” now.