Excitement around Reds seeps into clubhouse
The atmosphere in the stands at Great American Ball Park is electric these days, as fans watch the Reds go on a tear -- Cincinnati is a remarkable 18-3 since the All-Star Break entering Saturday's game vs. the Pirates.
The atmosphere in the clubhouse is just as infectious, according to utility man Todd Frazier.
"It's pretty fun. [We're] just enjoying life, having fun. [Outfielder Ryan] Ludwick's taking off right now -- he's having a blast doing it. Like he said the other day, it's the most fun he's had playing baseball, and it's the most fun for me too," Frazier said.
Take, for example, a typical day in the Reds' clubhouse pregame.
Are the players nervous? No way: "We've been prepped to do this for our whole life. It's like an everyday event, waking up and eating breakfast in the morning basically," Frazier explained.
"I dance before the games. I get people fired up before the games. It's not that good," Frazier admitted. "It's just for fun. I mess around with the Latin guys when they play their Latin music. I try to dance like that and they get a good laugh out of it."
Frazier would be happy to appear on the TV show "Dancing with the Stars".
"I think I'd have a good chance. I'd have to work on my footsteps a little bit, and relax my arms a little more, but I think I'd have a good shot," he said.
After a game, the clubhouse is, in Frazier's opinion, "awesome".
"We have our two songs that we listen to after the game. And everybody's in a great mood, everybody's repeating the words and stuff like that. It's pretty fun. Every time we win, it's just so much fun in there, no matter if you're 0-for-4 with three strikeouts or 5-for-5 with two home runs," Frazier said.
Frazier said things in the clubhouse weren't tense as the Trade Deadline approached.
"Did we talk about it? Yes. We're only human. We knew everything that was going on and we traded for [reliever Jonathan] Broxton," he said. "Great pickup for us, he's a great guy, quiet. And nobody else got traded. And I think it was a great job by [GM] Walt [Jocketty], doing that for us, knowing that we had a great team here and we didn't need much. We just gotta keep on doing what we gotta do."
The team hasn't pulled many pranks on their newest teammate -- yet.
"We're trying to break [Broxton] in. He's a big guy. It's like an animal in the forest, you know, in the jungle," Frazier joked. "You can't get too close to him just yet. You have to break him in. Maybe move his glove somewhere else and he gets confused, and then you could do something to him like put gum on his seat. You gotta work him slow, 'cause he's humongous. If you get him mad, then you're in trouble!"
In describing the various personalities of his teammates, Frazier had this to say: "Myself, I'm energetic, emotional, loud -- all of the above -- and I stay on that level all the time. Ludwick's pretty loud, pretty talkative. [Joey] Votto's pretty plain. He talks a lot, but at the same time, he keeps it hush. [Jay] Bruce is a fun-loving guy. [Chris] Heisey, [Zack] Cozart, about the same doing their thing. And the pitchers are a different breed. They're funny as anything and have their little quirks, but at the same time they come together as a unit. It's pretty fun to watch."
Frazier said his best friend on the team is second baseman Brandon Phillips, a notoriously good bowler -- or so Frazier thought.
"I heard all this good stuff about him [bowling]. He beat me the first game and then I beat him the next two. I said, 'Brandon, I thought you bowled 300 three different times.' He said, 'You got lucky, the ball was bad,'" Frazier recalled. "We made a little bet, if I beat him two out of three, he'd have to [wait on me] in the clubhouse. And I beat him and he was getting me drink after drink, so it was pretty funny."
After all, baseball is but a game.
Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for MLB.com in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.