3 years after playing together, ex-Chicago White Sox teammates Eaton, Frazier still feuding
I'll never forget one of the first Chicago White Sox spring-training games I covered, back in 1994.
It was the Sox and Twins at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.
A shortstop named Ozzie Guillen fielded a grounder and threw across the diamond to a first baseman named Frank Thomas.
It was a low throw, and Thomas was unable to scoop it out of the dirt.
In the postgame clubhouse, Guillen loudly chided Thomas for failing to bail him out.
"I'm never going to win a Gold Glove because of you," Guillen said. "Catch the ball."
You only have to be around Guillen a day or two to realize he's more humorous than harsh, but Thomas took his words pretty hard, quietly dressed and made a quick exit.
Any bad feelings between the two quickly passed, and a quarter century later you can see Guillen and Thomas are good friends while sharing the set together as White Sox TV analysts on NBC Sports Chicago.
Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier? Not so much.
You might remember the duo playing for the Sox in 2016 -- one of the most miserable seasons in franchise history. They were locker neighbors for the first four months of the season before Eaton moved to the other side of the clubhouse, allegedly to be closer to Justin Morneau.
"Morneau, he's like, 'Why are you by two righties (Frazier and injured Brett Lawrie)?' " said Eaton, a left-handed hitter. "And I'm like, 'I don't know.' He's like, 'Why don't you come down here next to the two lefties,' with (Alex) Avila and Morneau.
"And as petty as it is, and you guys don't care, but it gets cold in that (old) seat and, seriously, my body hurts from sitting in that seat and so it's good for the body and for the mind. I'm excited for my relocation."
It was an odd exchange, and I later asked former White Sox manager Robin Ventura if it was true that Eaton and Frazier exchanged punches in the clubhouse.
"Which time?" Ventura replied.
In spring training of 2016, Frazier was seething over the whole Adam/Drake LaRoche soap opera.
LaRoche had a bad year for the Sox in 2015, when his son Drake was a near daily guest in the clubhouse.
The following spring, White Sox vice president Kenny Williams asked Adam LaRoche to scale back on the father/son time, prompting the veteran first baseman to abruptly retire.
Along with Chris Sale, Eaton was outraged by Williams calling for Drake LaRoche's removal, deeming the 14-ywar-old a "leader."
That obviously didn't sit well with Frazier, nor did Eaton's decision to call a team meeting later in the season to urge his teammates to vote him as the club's representative for the Roberto Clemente Award.
Frazier is now with the New York Mets, and Eaton plays for the Washington Nationals.
The two teams played each other Monday night, and Frazier yelled at Eaton coming off the field after the latter grounded into a double play to end the third inning. Both benches started clearing before play resumed with no further incidents.
Eaton addressed the feud after the game.
"(Frazier's) very childish," Eaton told reporters. "I'm walking with my head down, the play's over, I'm walking away, I hear him a couple of times. I'm a 30-year-old man with two kids, I've got a mortgage and everything. He wants to loud talk as he's running off the field.
"At the end of the day, I've got to be a man about it. I tried to stay patient with the childishness. I've got to stand up to it eventually."
Frazier had little to say Monday night, but that changed Tuesday afternoon after he heard Eaton's comments.
"Ask all 23 of those guys (on the 2016 White Sox), they know what happened," Frazier told reporters. "Just immaturity. If you know Adam, every team he's been on, you hear what people say, you understand it."