Todd Frazier and the cheating controversy

Earlier this month, against the Dodgers, Todd Frazier made a spectacular non-catch that was ruled a catch. The Mets’ third baseman had raced over to the stands in foul territory while chasing a foul pop fly, and he dove into the stands. Frazier then emerged holding the ball high, and the batter was called out. As we all know now, Frazier did not actually catch that ball. It squirted out of his glove as he hit the seats, and he then scooped up a ball lying adjacent to him. It was actually not the game ball but a rubber one that some fan had brought to the game, and Frazier quickly tossed it back into the stands when he realized it was a toy.

So the question is, was Frazier cheating on that play? As in any sport, occasionally cheating does happen in baseball. Examples would include corking a bat, a pitcher loading up a ball with a foreign substance, and a player absorbing banned steroids to enhance his performance, often distorting his body as well. Most baseball fans would agree that these cited instances would fall into the realm of cheating. Please note that they all have one fact in common… all these illegal acts were premeditated. However, in the Frazier case, there clearly was no premeditation, Frazier did not tumble into the stands planning to grab the rubber ball, he was trying valiantly to catch the game ball. When he could not hold on to it, he held up what he thought was the real ball.

It is not Frazier’s job to determine whether the ball was caught or dropped, there are umpires for that task. If we are to consider Frazier’s action to be that of a cheater, then any time a player is ruled safe at a base when he knows he was out by a fraction of an instant, that player would have to be considered a cheater. It is unlikely a that a player has ever argued with an umpire saying the call was wrong when the player benefitted from the call.

Probably the most common situation encountered in baseball that is analogous to the Frazier catch/non-catch would be diving outfield catches. Specifically when the outfielder stretches out and snags the ball just as it hits the turf, he invariably holds up the ball even in cases when he knows it was not a true catch. Nowadays, most of the time replay will show if its a real catch or not, but not always. Are we to consider all the outfielders who have done this to be cheaters? If you consider Frazier to have cheated, then all those players would have to be considered such as well.

Quite telling is the fact that the MLB authorities were questioned about the play after the details were known. The response from MLB was “No plans to look at it further.” That statement should put the cheater/non-cheater controversy to rest.

7 comments for “Todd Frazier and the cheating controversy

  1. Eraff
    September 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I believe that this level and the detail of purposeful deception falls into “Foul Play”. I also believe that Todd’s claim that he didn’t realize that he had a fake ball are obvious bullshit.

    I would prefer to see a 5 game suspension.

  2. Metsense
    September 11, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I saw a SNY video on Facebook where Fraser says that he knew he had picked up another baseball. He was culpable of intent when he deceived the umpires. He should be fined and suspended. Your article was appalling to me as your expamples were not premeditated actions and certainly not intintional. I am even frustrated by the quote from MLB. It was some than attitude that allow then steroid era and ruin that record book for this life long Met fan.

    • John Fox
      September 11, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      My examples were corking a bat, taking steroids and creating a spit ball. All those are premeditated, so if you say my examples were not of premeditated actions we must have different definitions

      • Metsense
        September 11, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Mea culpa John, you were very explicit.. Frasier did know it wasn’t the game ball when deceived the umpire according the SNY Facebook Frazier interview.

  3. Hobie
    September 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I think the most analogous play would be the instance where Derek Jeter claimed to be HBP. If you think that was savvy, so is Frzier; if you think it’s cheating, ditto.

  4. Madman
    September 11, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    The Mets always sign the wrong guy! They could have signed Cozart,Moustakas or old friend Walker.

  5. james wright
    September 12, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Sounds like that article was written by a Mets fan. He clearly knew the ball was not the game ball. Any little league player can tell the difference of a rubber ball to a genuine game ball. It was clearly an intentional act of deception on his part. Would you like to use his example to teach young players how to win a game. I surely would not. In this day and age of questionable behaviour by famous people being flaunted around by the media. Behaviour like this should be called out as wrong. If basesball loses it’s integrity, what does it have left? I am a lifelong Mets fan, but I still say…Boo this man for such behaviour.

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