Yesterday afternoon, Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay raised eyebrows on his radio show. While discussing the team’s recent stretch of disappointing play, he took direct aim at the outfield. In particular, Kay lamented the fact that Shane Robinson made multiple starts over the week.
Had the story finished there, one could probably agree and move on. It didn’t stop, though. Instead, he criticized both Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier for not getting healthy enough to contribute down the stretch.
Kay later clarified that he was kidding.
You know I was being facetious, right? https://t.co/bUZcZwzYXi— Michael Kay (@RealMichaelKay) August 6, 2018
Frazier, however, took umbrage with the comments and responded with a tweet of his own, forcing Kay to backpedal and issue a quasi-apology.
.@RealMichaelKay facetious or not, I don’t appreciate what you said today. i’m doing everything I can to get healthy so I can play symptom free ... so steer clear of publicly calling me out for not when we haven’t even had one convo about my concussion this year. #ShameOnYouBro— Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) August 7, 2018
Clint, I would never question someone's injury. Never. In fact, I have gone out of my way to say how I felt for you this year and how badly I know how you want to play. It is beyond my comprehension that you would think I would minimize what you are going through. https://t.co/g4a0P0UYmh— Michael Kay (@RealMichaelKay) August 7, 2018
The next time I make light of someone's injury will be the first time. I should have said how unfortunate you and Ellsbury's injuries are. It came out in a clumsy way. If you took it the wrong way, I apologize and look forward to speaking with you personally. https://t.co/g4a0P0UYmh— Michael Kay (@RealMichaelKay) August 7, 2018
I can’t blame Kay for attempting to issue an apology. That’s the right thing to do. Yet he somehow tries to make Frazier looks like he’s in the wrong. If Kay made a mistake and misspoke, fine. That happens! Saying that it’s beyond comprehension that he took offense, however, is sloppy at best. It’s not too out of the realm of possibility that Frazier would feel this way. It was just last year that an anonymous Yankees insider ripped Greg Bird for being injured.
The 23-year-old suffered a concussion during Grapefruit League play, an injury from which he still suffers symptoms. Across 15 big-league games, Red Thunder has hit .265/.390/.353 with a 114 wRC+. He has absolutely demolished Triple-A pitching, however, to the tune of .311/.389/.574 with 10 home runs. Brian Cashman indicated that many teams asked for Frazier at the trade deadline. The fact the Yankees held on to him serves as a testament to how highly they value the outfielder.
Head injuries are no laughing matter. There’s a reason why the NFL and WWE have taken such dramatic steps to address them. Baseball isn’t as much of a contact sport as those two, but the implications of head trauma remain the same. While we have poked fun at the variety of ailments plaguing Ellsbury (oblique, hip, plantar fasciitis, obliterated by Thanos), a concussion stands out on a whole other level.
Hopefully Kay and Frazier can move on from this spat. You would hate to see any tensions persist. In the meantime, get well soon Red Thunder. And you too, Ellsbury.
Update (4:15 PM): Michael Kay called back into his radio show this afternoon to clear the air. He apologized, explained that he understood the problem and the seriousness of head injuries, and indicated that he spoke to Clint Frazier personally. That should take care of it.
Now we can put this nonsense behind us and focus on getting Frazier healthy.