My Ryan Freel interview
Click HERE to download and listen to the podcast of my interview with Ryan from May 20, 2010. I can't get it to work by clicking the PLAY button. It only works after I download it. Ryan had just announced his in-season retirement from the Somerset Patriots (Independent League). The interview begins 19:14 into the podcast.
He said it took him a few months to reach his decision to retire, saying the grind of travel and bouncing from one MLB team to the next had worn on him. He said he wished he'd done some things differently and that he went through a "bad period", but he was at peace and felt it was time (to retire). He was actually watering plants and planting flowers for his wife during the interview. He said he had three girls (20 months, 6 years and 4 years) that he wanted to spend time with. He said he'd missed a lot of stuff with his first two girls and was not going to live to be on the road. He told me he got tired of fixing PB&J and eating cheese sandwiches while playing for Somerset and being 14 hours away from his family. At one point he stopped the interview and asked me if I heard the water running while he watered the plants. He said, "My new goal is to be a good daddy and a husband. I'm at peace. I appreciate everything I have. I'm so grateful. If I didn't meet my wife I really thought I'd been dead or in prison. I never thought, in a million years, I'd have the career I had. I'll never forget playing at GABP in front of those fans." He told me he had no interest in eventually getting back into the game as a coach or manager, "none, zero...I see those guys and I don't want to live that lifestyle. You can't go back and change the quality time you missed with your kids. I've missed enough time with my family as it is." He told me to give Cincinnati a "hug and a kiss" at the end of our talk and that he'd love to come back for Redsfest. (Thanks Steven Sharp for link)
Bengals Line Lunch Monday!
It's a special Christmas Eve edition of Bengals Line on Monday.
Join us noon-3pm for food, fun, football, prizes, autographs and more.
(From Bengals on Twitter @Bengals)
Upon on further review
*I believe I used up the remaining 6 years on my pacemaker.
*That's the kind of game the Steelers used to win and the Bengals used to lose.
*How many times did the Bengals stare down adversity and not blink?
*How about this for a new narrative?: Back to back playoffs for first time since 1981-82, postseason for third time in four years, and elimination of Steelers at Heinz.
*They have won 6 of 7.......went 6-2 on road.
*Marvin was right, the defense bailed his butt out.
*Can you imagine the offseason conversation had they lost? Passed up 51 yd FG and attempted 56?
*Only 5 players on the 53-man roster going into Sunday's game had been born the last time the Bengals made consecutive playoff appearances: Josh Brown, Nate Clements, Chris Crocker, Terrence Newman and Andrew Whitworth. (Thanks Don Helbig)
*7 more penalties: Had 11, 8, 8 previous 3 weeks.
*Bengals 1 of 7 teams to make playoffs at least 3 of last 4 years:
4 times: Pats, Ravens, Packers
3 times: Bengals, Colts, Saints, Falcons (Thanks Michael Wottreng @MWottreng)
*Troy P still has those moments
*Andy and AJ made a play when they had to...great protection, what a throw, what a catch.
*17 sacks allowed last 3 games? Holy.
*Just 4 of 15 (27%) on 3rd down
*Run game ground to a halt: BJGE 15 carries, 14 yards, long of 4
*AJ targeted 18 times....career high?...caught 10
*Gresh couple big 3rd down grabs....3rd 14, 12
*Tate 24-yards on shuffle pass, big blog by Boling and AJ!
*Still don't like illegal touching by A. Smith. Hawk was in area.
*2nd last possession?: AJ 9yds on 1st down, 2nd down at Pitt 48 BJGE 0, 3rd down deep AJ?=Punt.
*They certainly took their shots down the field.
*What can you say...they simply stoned Ben and the Steelers
*Geno vs the rookie DeCastro=mismatch...2.5 sacks/13 for season.
*Geno 3rd down sack opening drive after big KR and big 1st down run.
*Geno early 3rd quarter sack after Dalton pick, threw Foster away, forced punt/took out FG range.
*4th QT sack on 3rd down.
*Sims 3rd & 2 stop
*Impact day for Michael Johnson....2nd & 13 sack at 11....forced FG (10-10)
*How many 4th quarter picks does Reggie Nelson have in his career?
*Feel really good for Leon Hall..no INT 1st 13 games, now back to back games. He made a great read and jumped route while covering the TE Miller.
*Held Steelers 2 of 14 (14%) on 3rd down
*Still no opening drive TD's allowed
*Gave up 60 yd TD pass....when was last big pass play allowed?
*Adam got beat on deep ball, but love watching that guy competes!
*How big has the signing of Josh Brown been? Organization does not get enough credit for finding guys like him...
*Big props to Kevin Huber. 4 inside the 20.....one down at 2.....one of 64 yards
*I might have been waving and blowing at the TV on the final Suisham FG attempt.
*Killer penalty on Jason Allen on Adam Jones PR, and Skuda ran into kicker.
*Steelers special teams awful: Bad snap on FG=0 points, after scoring 15 straight trips into red zone. A. Brown misjuged punt--let hit at 30 and roll to 7.....led to Hall pick 6.
What they are saying about Bengals
Yahoo Sports: The really interesting backstory to Cincinnati's newfound success is how the Bengals completely rebuilt a team from virtually the ground up. That included Lewis firing longtime offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski after the 2010 season and bringing in Jay Gruden.
Fox Sports Ohio: The Bengals are going back to the NFL's big stage, where they'll look to introduce the NFL to a young superstar wide receiver and a defense that's playing as well as anybody's defense.
ESPN: The Cincinnati Bengals delivered a defining moment in franchise history Sunday when they clinched their second consecutive playoff berth on the soil of their fiercest division rival.
"It's a big win for the city of Cincinnati," coach Marvin Lewis said after the Bengals' last-minute, 13-10 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers. "I know they think that there's some complex. There's no complex. This group in there has very little history of anything."
Joe Reedy: It was not a work of art but the Bengals did what they needed to, which was take advantage of mistakes and get a couple late plays when they needed it the most. This young group also got over the barrier of not getting a big win against one of the standard bearers in the AFC North.
Hobson:With a playoff berth on the line Sunday at sun-splashed Heinz Field, the Bengals got the brilliant defensive effort they needed with two hellacious red-zone stands in the third quarter that kept the game tied at 10 and fittingly it was
ESPN: What it means: In a defensive battle, the Bengals (9-6) made the last big play to clinch a playoff berth and knock the Steelers out of the postseason. This is the first time since 1981-82 that the Bengals have reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons. If the Ravens lose to the Giants this afternoon, the Bengals would play Baltimore for the division title next Sunday. The Steelers (7-8) lost for the fifth time in six games.
NFL.com: In between Big Ben's picks, Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins absolutely dominated with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. This game wasn't about Dalton or Green. It was about the Cincinnati defense showing it could win an old-school AFC North battle.
Tony Dungy @TonyDungy: Congratulations to the Bengals on qualifying for the playoffs!
Seg Dennison, 700 WLW: "Take that all you freaks waving terrible towels.....and Troy, get your hair cut!
Bengals players tweet all about it:
Great Win!!! It's the start of somethin new #YoungDynasty youth movement s/o #whodeynation #WhoDey!?!
Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap)
Great Win today!! Feels great to be in thePlayoffs! #Bengals #WHODEY
Kevin Zeitler (@kzeit70)
This win is for you Cincinnati and all our fans all over! You guys def deserved to be praised! Without you guys wed be nothing! #thankyou
Rey Maualuga (@maualuga58)
Great win baby!!! #WHODEY #playofftime give that one to our Defense @DomataPeko @GenoSacks @Carlos_Dunlap
Bruce Gradkowski (@bgradkowski5)
Merry CHRISTmas who dey family!! Thanks for all the support. This is just the begining. Destination New Orleans!Hard work pays off! #Bengals
Domata Peko (@DomataPeko)
Huge win! Who Dey and Merry Christmas!
Andy Dalton @andydalton14
Thanks to Amber on Twitter:
RIP Ryan Freel
Share you memories of Freel here
Remembering Ryan Freel
Marc Lancaster, CBS Sports
He was a fascinating guy, largely devoid of the natural athletic gifts that teammates like Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips could boast. He found his way to the Reds after eight years spent mostly in the Blue Jays' farm system thanks in large part to his reckless abandon on the field.
In that sense, he was the perfect Cincinnati player. The Queen City is always on the lookout for the latest incarnation of native son Pete Rose, and Freel slid noisily into that mold. Starting at least 10 games at five different positions in 2004, he proved valuable enough to accumulate nearly 600 plate appearances in his first full big-league season.
Freel was a delightful player to cover
Andrew Castrovince, MLB.com
I covered the Reds in 2005 for MLB.com and, therefore, spent a lot of time around Freel. He was/is one of my favorite athletes I've dealt with in this business, for a number of reasons.
For one, Freel truly loved the sport he was paid to play, and we all know that this is not always a given. He compromised nothing in his effort or intensity in any game I saw him play. He took pride in being on the field and giving his all, much to the detriment of his battered body. And in that 2005 season, he was just beginning to see his utility role expanded into more of a consistent presence.
Ryan Freel dead at 36, commits suicide
First Coast News sports director Dan Hicken has learned that Ryan Freel, a Jacksonville native and former Major League Baseball has died at the age of 36.
The cause of death is suicide.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says Freel was found dead from an apparent self inflicted shotgun blast in his home Saturday afternoon.
From the Reds:
The Reds family is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ryan Freel. His teammates and our fans loved him for how hard he played the game, and he loved giving back to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Reaction on Twitter:
RIP Ryan Freel!! Great teammate, great guy,n loved his family! Such a sad day today with his passing!Awful news!Prayers are with his family!
Sean Casey @TheMayorsOffice
Freel bio/career stats
I'll always remember Ryan Freel for his all out hustle and the reckless abandon he played the game with. He simply loved to play the game. He would dive into walls, into the stands, and sometimes, into his own teammates. Reds fans loved him because he played with a love and appreciation for the game.
Freel played in 554 games with the Reds from 2003-2008.
He hit .272 with 140 stolen bases. From 2004-06 he stole 37, 36 and 37 bases for the Reds. He became the first Reds baserunner with 35 steals in 3 straight seasons since Eric Davis from 1986-88. In 2004 he made 128 starts at 5 different positions (51 at 3B, 29 in CF, 26 in RF, 12 in LF, 10 at 2B).
Freel signed as a free agent with the Reds in November of 2002. He was traded to Baltimore in the Ramon Hernandez deal in December of 2008. I'll never forget his collision in CF with Norris Hopper in 2007. How about this catch he made against Albert Pujols and the Cards? Freel had just 22 career HR's in 2,274 plate appearance...but got Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson and Billy Wagner.
In July of 2012 Freel accepted the position of head baseball coach at St Joseph Academy in St Augustine, Florida. However, he later decided to turn down the position.
Check out these random career stats I found.
Freel lifetime vs:
Greg Maddux 9 for 31, .290
Tom Glavine 6 for 18, .333
Cliff Lee 6 for 11, .545
Roger Clemens 5 for 17, .294
Andy Pettitte 4 for 11, .364
Jeff Weaver 6 for 14, .429
Remember Ryan Freel dirty t-shirt night?