Jason Frasor Savors the Chase
by John Rhadigan
As they sit in the bullpen relief pitchers have a lot of time to watch, a lot of time to wait, a lot of time to kill. When you have as much personality as Joe Nathan, a large percentage of that time is spent talking. Last week as he talked to Jason Frasor about how tight things had gotten in the AL West, Joe got an interesting dose of perspective. Jason said to Joe, “I am hanging on every pitch and it is only the second inning.” Welcome to meaningful September baseball Jason.
Prior to joining Texas in January Frasor had spent 8 years in the Big Leagues, but all except 50 of his 525 games played were with the Blue Jays. That means that he has never experienced this kind of September drama first hand. His initial reaction is that this is great fun and he is savoring every moment of it. He is also sharing his wide eyed enthusiasm with his teammates. Nathan says he draws energy and joy from watching young guys go through this playoff chase for the first time. But Joe says it is even more fun to watch a veteran like Frasor.
Nathan has been to the playoffs 5 times in his career. But like most of his teammates he has never won the World Series. That is what the next two months is all about for the Rangers. Draw energy, enthusiasm and joy from the process. Believe me that is much easier said than done as these guys take the field with the weight of expectations on them. But they know that if they are having fun they will play better, and that if they play well they will have more fun. A little bit like the chicken and the egg isn’t it?
Ranger’s fans have learned the same thing that Frasor is learning now. This is a fun time of year, complete with drama, pressure, joy and as 2011 taught us, sometimes pain. This September is shaping up to be just as dramatic as last year. More than 2010 or even 2011 this team is built for the playoffs because it has great starting pitching and a dominant bull pen. With veterans like Nathan, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre leading the way don’t be surprised if this team seizes September and makes a long run in October. If that happens Jason Frasor will start hanging on every pitch in the first inning.