Last night, Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier got into it during the series opener between the Mets and the Nationals. Since their time together on the White Sox, Eaton and Frazier have scuffled quite a bit. I was even told by a source that while the two were on the team together, things got so bad that Frazier actually pinned Eaton against a locker because he was so fed up. While there is no clear instance that started this feud, there are quite a few rumors in circulation as to why the two don’t see eye to eye.
The first reason being they physically do not see eye to eye. Eaton comes in at a very unintimidating 5’9″ while Frazier is 6’3″ and built like a tree. Eaton has been described as a “fake nice guy” from many of his former teammates stemming from what many call “short man syndrome.” Based on his time with the White Sox, I can see this. He always seemed to put himself at the center of everything. It feels as if what he lacked in height, he tried to make up for in personality and grit. Many of the fans (including myself) bought into this, as he was always seen taking pictures with fans and getting on everyone’s good side. That’s great and all, but in the White Sox clubhouse he was tough to be around, and no one was buying into his antics. This can obviously be annoying to be around, and Frazier has always been a no B.S. type of guy.
Another reason exists based on Eaton’s public perception. The famous “straw that stirs the drink” saying that referred to Eaton being the one to get things going, caught on quickly within White Sox social media and even broadcasts. Shirts were made, and the saying became very popular. I myself had even found it to be interesting and kind of cool at the time. It appeared to be something that the whole team was in on and bought into. However, it turns out the saying was pretty much made up by him and highly mocked behind his back. As everyone knows, you can’t make up your own nickname because that’s a very quick way to get taunted and made fun of. Nicknames have to be made by someone other than yourself in order to stick and be genuine. However, it stuck in the wrong places as the players didn’t care for this one bit. Once again for Frazier, this could have been a nuisance to the locker room.
Another reason could be Eaton’s failed attempts at leadership. Rumors are out there that Eaton and Frazier had lockers right next to each other to start the 2016 campaign. In a season that was pretty much doomed from the beginning, there weren’t many figures of leadership to look up to, especially after Jimmy Rollins was released. Eaton was intent on taking the reigns as a leader, and he failed mightily. The fact of the matter was, no one respected him. No one listened to him, and pretty much everyone mocked him. This makes sense because if there’s anything that I know about leadership, its that your followers have to willingly follow you based on a message that the following can get behind. Did the rest of the clubhouse want to miss a significant amount of games because they ran into the outfield wall trying to rob a homer that made it ten rows back? I don’t think so. Frazier, being a natural leader that young players have always gravitated towards, quickly shut this down to the dismay of Eaton. Eaton moved his locker to the opposite side of the clubhouse and the open locker next to Frazier’s was given to the freshly called up Tim Anderson. Go figure.
In addition to the leadership factor, the last reason and one of the bigger possibilities was their disagreement on the situation regarding Drake LaRoche. The consensus around the team was that Adam LaRoche was simply having his son in the clubhouse way too often. He was there pretty much every second of every day. It was to the point that on team picture day, Adam and Drake got their own pictures taken together which is a luxury that no other father in the clubhouse seemingly had. On top of all of that, there are just times where the players need time to unwind together and not have to worry about what they say because they’re in the presence of a child. This makes sense, there’s a reason why fraternities have father’s weekends and not younger cousins’ weekends. As much as you may love your younger cousin, a frat house just isn’t a suitable place for him or her to be. Similarly, an MLB clubhouse filled with 25 young men talking about whatever comes to mind is not a suitable place for a young child to be, outside of special family days. Everyone seemed to agree with this, except for Eaton. Eaton openly said that the clubhouse lost a “leader” in Drake LaRoche. Whether this was meant to be a joke or not, are you kidding me? Openly throwing every single one of your teammates that complained about this environment under the bus to stick up for some kid that wasn’t meant to be there in the first place? This may have been the last straw for Frazier, and not one meant for stirring things up at the top of the order.
We may never know what started this, but for now, we can just enjoy some of this drama and be glad that it is no longer going on in the White Sox clubhouse. Based on his behavior, I could imagine that the Nationals have some buyer’s remorse since they traded for the locker room pill that is Adam Eaton and gave up young studs in Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning.
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