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Analyzing Todd Frazier’s reaction to the hidden ball trick

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Things got interesting last night

Last night’s loss to the Blue Jays was embarrassing in a lot of ways. The Yankees lost 8 - 1 to a team 10 games under .500, Masahiro Tanaka allowed eight runs on three home runs (including a grand slam), and Todd Frazier fell for the hidden ball trick. It’s a night the Yankees, their fans, and Frazier himself likely want to forget ever happened, but we can’t. We have to remember the hidden ball trick.

This legendary trick play was once common in the game, but is rarely ever pulled off anymore. The late Gene Michael was a master at pulling it off. It was also how they got Ken Griffey Jr. out in Little Big League. It happens when a fielder pretends to throw the ball back to the pitcher, the runner is too stupid to notice otherwise, and when they take their lead, the fielder tags them with the ball still in their glove. This exact turn of events happened last night.

Jose Bautista caught a long fly ball off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury. Frazier, not sure if it would land, was caught between second and third before retreating back to second. Bautista threw the ball in, like normal, and Ryan Goins caught it, like normal. Then Goins motioned that he was throwing the ball, but unlike normal, he didn’t actually throw it. He hid the ball in his glove. How did Frazier not catch this, you ask? It’s because he wasn’t paying attention:

As you can see in the image above, Frazier has completely stopped playing baseball at this point. He’s busy checking the out of town scoreboard or thinking about what he’s going to eat after the game. Meanwhile, Goins, who is still playing, sees what’s going on. He fakes the throw and puts the ball back into his glove. Then all he has to do is wait.

It was a bold move on Goins’ part because who knows how long he would have had to stand there if Frazier hadn’t adjusted his feet. Frazier could have spent another five minutes admiring the stands and things would have just gotten awkward for everyone. Todd instead realizes where he is and attempts to shuffle his feet to face forward, like his mother is telling him to put his feet through the holes in the shopping cart seat.

Frazier still has no idea what’s going on, even with Goins standing far too close to him. This might actually be the most spaced out an athlete has ever been on the field of play before. It’s outstanding. It’s at the moment the gif ends that we finally get a sense of how he feels about all this. It’s here that Frazier goes through the five stages of grief in rapid succession:

Anger

Denial

Bargaining

Depression

Acceptance

It was not a great look for a professional baseball player, but I guess it happens to the best of us. When I played Little League, I would sometimes pick dandelions in the outfield, so I know how tough it was for Frazier to concentrate on that play.

It was an embarrassing way to mess up on the job, so all you can really hope for is that he can recover in time for the next game. Todd’s learned the valuable lesson that life comes at you fast: