Looks Deceive: Hard to Fathom Freel's Death

Looks Deceive: Hard to Fathom Freel's Death

One play summed up Ryan Freel's career. The Reds were playing one of the last games of spring -- it may have even been the very last game. It was in Clearwater against the Phillies. Freel was playing center field.

A Philadelphia batter smacked a shot to the wall in left-center. Freel sprinted toward the wall and launched himself head-long to try to make the catch. I literally thought he had broken his neck. He turned out to be all right.

I remember asking him about it. Something to the effect of: Why on earth would you do that in a meaningless spring training game? He just shrugged and said: "That's how I play."

That was Freel.

It was a shock to hear that he took his own life Saturday.

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