SARASOTA -- Ryan Freel is in camp and has been for quite a while, getting in his usual work.
Today, for the first time, he addressed the Jan. 8 incident in Tampa that led to his arrest on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly intoxication. The charge was dropped two weeks later.
Freel was at a friend's bachelor party at a pool room/sushi bar called The Rack. Another friend of Freel's who works at the bar had helped make arrangements for the party, but at some point in the evening one member of the party got in an argument with the employee. Freel said he was trying to separate the two.
"One of my buddies was getting in an altercation with the guy that was taking care of it, and I was embarrassed, because this guy was taking care of us," said Freel. "(My friend) wouldnít stop, he just kept going on and on, and I kept telling him, ĎGet back in the car, shut up, letís go.í I was yelling at him, I was even hugging him and trying to get him out of there. He just wouldnít stop."
Freel admitted to yelling and cussing at his friend outside the bar, but said he had done nothing to warrant being arrested.
"It was so stupid," he said. "Here I was, trying to get somebody out of trouble, yelling at him Ė this is my buddy Ė and all of a sudden I go to jail. I wasnít fighting, I wasnít doing anything."
Freel said he understood that his involvement in that incident, along with his arrest on DUI charges the night of Opening Day last year, might have tainted his image in the eyes of Reds fans. He said he doesn't intend to find himself in a similar mess again.
"The fans of Cincinnati, for the most part, have respected the way Iíve played and gone about my business," he said. "This stupid incident, it hurts your reputation. ...
"Itís embarrassing and I donít want to get caught in that situation again. Iíve made some adjustments this offseason and taken care of my business in a different way."