Following his recent release by the Pittsburgh Pirates there were several options for Toms River’s Todd Frazier.  One was getting picked up by another team and put on their 40-man roster but that did not happen.  While spending time at home during the summer with his family sounded good the 35-year old Frazier still had the desire to play and compete so he accepted an invitation to join Team USA as they seek to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo (July 23-August 8).

The “Toddfather” is now in Vero Beach, Florida along with 27 other free agents and minor leaguers as they prepare for an 8-country qualification tournament with the winner to earn one of six spots in the Olympic field.  Japan, Korea, Mexico and Israel have already secured spots with the final two going to the winner of the Americas Qualifying event and a Final Qualifying Tournament in Mexico in mid-June.

While they head into the tournament as the top ranked country among the eight there is little margin for error.  The USA begins Group A play on Memorial Day (May 31) against Nicaragua and will then face the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico over the next two days.  The top two teams in the group will then advance to the Super Round against the top two finishers in Group B among Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Canada.  When that is finished the team/country with the best record will have punched their ticket to Tokyo…among the tiebreakers is run differential so expect teams to run up the score if they can.

Among the more familiar names on the Team USA roster are Matt Kemp. Jon Jay, Matt Wieters, Homer Bailey and Logan Forsythe.  Frazier, who will be the starting third baseman, does not view this as the swan song of his playing career as he hopes to catch on with a major league team later this season or in 2022.  For right now he is just hoping to help the US win a gold medal and bring it home to Toms River later this summer.


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