When “Fly Me to the Moon” by New Jersey icon Frank Sinatra plays at Citi Field, you know that New Jersey icon Todd Frazier is coming to the plate. Frazier is in his ninth season in the Majors — and second with the Mets — but plenty of people in his home state still think of him as the 12-year-old who led the Toms River team to a Little League World Series championship, the first for an American team in six years.
That team inspired Elizabeth, a city about an hour north of Toms River, to charter the Elmora Youth Little League in 1999.
Twenty years later, Elmora beat Haverstraw, New York, 19-4 to win the Mid-Atlantic region, securing a spot in the tournament, which starts on Thursday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They will face Northwest region champion Sprague Little League from Salem, Oregon.
Frazier has been rooting for Elmora, but he didn’t realize the role he and his team played in its creation until the New York Post told him about it.
“Wow. That’s pretty cool Ah, it makes me feel good. It’s very humbling. You never know who you’re going to inspire every day no matter how old or young you are.”
And even though Frazier left Little League quite some time ago, it’s clear that he still thinks about how the way he plays the game affects young fans.
“And you never know who’s going to come to the ballpark; that’s why you’ve got to try to play this game understanding that it could be this kid’s first day watching this game. Make an impression. That’s the biggest thing you can do. Try and smile, whether you get out or you hit a home run. Make a kid’s day. You don’t even have to talk to him; just by seeing how you act on the field, how you go about your business.”
Alas, Frazier won’t be able to watch that game — the Mets are squaring off against the Royals in Kansas City at the same time — but we wouldn’t be surprised if he sneaks a peek between innings to see how Elmora is doing.