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Thread: Freel and Reds' tradition

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Freel and Reds' tradition

    I was watching the ESPN 2006 Web Gems show last night, and I realized how proud I was of Ryan Freel's style of play. After all, I grew up admiring FranK Robinson's fire, Pete Rose's hardnose style of play, Eric Davis's fearless abandonment, and Barry Larkin's drive. That was the Redleg way, hardnosed and all out.

    I have expressed this admiration before on this board and have seen Freel admonished here for wearing down because of his style. I don't get it. How can a player be criticized for playing all out? He puts his heart out on his shield and doesn't care if his statistics suffer. Ryan Freel is the face of Red tradition and I greatly admire the guy. I hope he is penciled into the Reds' everyday line-up in rightfield in 2007.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Griffey gets tore apart for playing all out, if it ends up in him getting hurt. Same with Freel. If Freel wears down becuase he was going all out, it hurts the team. If Freel doesnt go all out though, it hurts the team. Same with Griffey. With the both of them it seems like its a lose lose situation for them.

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    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    It's not that people don't like the style of play. It's just an observation that if his playing style keeps him from being healthy and effective for a full season, it makes handing him a full-time job problematic. The baseball season is a distance race, not a sprint, and a player has to pace himself a little if he's going to be worth anything down the stretch.
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    It's not that people don't like the style of play. It's just an observation that if his playing style keeps him from being healthy and effective for a full season, it makes handing him a full-time job problematic. The baseball season is a distance race, not a sprint, and a player has to pace himself a little if he's going to be worth anything down the stretch.
    That's it in a nutshell.

    I understand fully what Spitball is saying.... we're pretty much the same age and grew up following/idolizing the same players..... but it's hard not to grow attached to those type of players and their style of play.

    And it's funny when I hear peple say that guys like Freel are an anomaly. It's true for the most part. And sad in another.

    It just seemed to me that "back then" you saw alot more of that passion (or drive) in ballplayers. They didn't exactly make the money. At least nothing close to what we are seeing with today's ballplayers. I'm not saying that "yesteryears" ballplayers didn't want or try to get it, or that it wasn't even an "incentive" to improve (especially come contract time). But it didn't seem to be as much the driving force in why they played the game. And when they did get a new contract (raise), it wasn't a phenomenal jump.

    I think today's ballplayers are a competely different breed.
    Last edited by GAC; 10-22-2006 at 05:45 AM.
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    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    It's not that people don't like the style of play. It's just an observation that if his playing style keeps him from being healthy and effective for a full season, it makes handing him a full-time job problematic. The baseball season is a distance race, not a sprint, and a player has to pace himself a little if he's going to be worth anything down the stretch.
    Yes. Sometimes, the intelligent player knows how far to push it to keep from being hurt. I'm not sure Freel knows this. Make that catch and miss the entire season, or at least the rest of it. Hard decisions. The smart guy plays it well and plays the next day.

    Griffey catches the devil here and elsewhere for his lack of what people think is not playing hard. Griffey knows if he does go out, he might be out and hurt his team, so he moderates it. Ryan Freel doesn't do that.
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    It's not that people don't like the style of play. It's just an observation that if his playing style keeps him from being healthy and effective for a full season, it makes handing him a full-time job problematic. The baseball season is a distance race, not a sprint, and a player has to pace himself a little if he's going to be worth anything down the stretch.
    I'll with fourth this comment. Totally agree.

    I think people think it is a knock on his play sometimes because some people (not saying you do) take comments so seriously on here that people believe we don't like a certain player because of some issue. Freel and Co. (Farney) is 2nd favorite Red, behind Edwin (who has his issues too).

    On a general feeling, I think people love this guy and don't want him to play conservative, just have a Deno like player ready every couple days (that is my opinion, we don't have to argue this on this thread, just trying to state my opinion on why it seems people dont like him)

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Freel is scrappy and that is a big Reds tradition.

    Here's a bunch of others.

    Scrappy - A Baseball State of Being

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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    By the way, did Freel win an award for best RF catch?

    If he did, then he is probably the first to have best web gems at 2 dif positions (3B last year @ chicago diving against camera well)

    I'm guessing Gary Matthews Jr. won best catch.

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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    I think at the major league level you not only need to play hard you need to play smart. As several others have said in this thread, there are times when Freel dosen't seem to fit the second part of the equation. To say it in another way, his situational awareness often leaves something to be desried.

    For instance a previous poster alluded to the play on which Freel injured his wrist/ thumb and ended up being out for the rest of the year. Not only did he take himself out for the remainder of the season with an ill advised diving attempt, he very well might have cost the Reds that game (which they lost 5-3). That effort was made on a ball hit with 2 out, a man on first and the pitcher due up next which hardly seems like a time to risk playing a ball into a run scoring triple. At the time the whole thing seemed like an after thought but a week later when the 'Stros had swept the Cards and the Cards had come to grief aganst the Padres, that game might have made a huge difference.

    However I do think he showed a lot of improvement this year in not causing situations with other fielders on fly balls and pop ups hit where 2 or more folks had a chance to make a play and somebody else appeared to already have the ball measured.

    Offensively, he has the same sort of problems. He picks the worst times in the world to get caught napping and picked off first. He also has a lot of problems just puttng the ball in play when he gets up in the middle of an inning with RISP and no outs or one out.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    For a fast guy, Freel is about the worst baserunner I can recall.

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    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    I remember when Eric Davis was criticized for being fragile and often hurt. And we get frustrated at the pitchers who "take the ball" when it turns out weeks later that they were hurt.

    In Freel's case, a lineup that gives him a day or two off each week, no matter how hot he is, would help, I think. It's odd that for all the lineup shuffling that goes on, it doesn't address this one area where it might actually help a lot.

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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Griffey gets tore apart for playing all out, if it ends up in him getting hurt. Same with Freel. If Freel wears down becuase he was going all out, it hurts the team. If Freel doesnt go all out though, it hurts the team. Same with Griffey. With the both of them it seems like its a lose lose situation for them.
    Lets not forget Junior at the Kingdome played all out on astro turf,better known as ''concrete grass''.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    I remember when Eric Davis was criticized for being fragile and often hurt. And we get frustrated at the pitchers who "take the ball" when it turns out weeks later that they were hurt.

    In Freel's case, a lineup that gives him a day or two off each week, no matter how hot he is, would help, I think. It's odd that for all the lineup shuffling that goes on, it doesn't address this one area where it might actually help a lot.
    I'm going to say something that may sound a little inappropriate and inconsiderate (and also pretty easy for me to say from my comfortable place in front of the computer). I really don't care if a player goes all out, with little regard to his body, on the baseball field. In fact, I kind of think that that's his job, every one of them. It saves games, and it's exciting to watch, but more than that, what's the alternative? With every ball that is played, is a player supposed to stop and think, "now, will catching this hurt me in any way?" Some players are born cautious and some are born reckless. If I'm not mistaken, coaching at the earliest levels address the former as more of a "problem" than the latter (though a player should not be clumsy or stupid in being reckless).

    That is why I usually advocate erring on the side of caution on the MANAGEMENT side. Why I think it's better to wait until Homer Bailey's arm is fully developed, better to move Griffey out of centerfield, and as BCubb notes, better to rest Freel every so often. I think that would be a good idea. But, apart from making him a bit smarter (particularly on the basepaths), I would not attempt to change his play on the field to save him from injury. That's management's job to handle in the way they play him, not Freel's job to handle in the way he plays.

    I think it's a misconception to say that Freel is injured "all the time" -- he has little injuries that add up, but so do a lot of players -- but it's a direct result of the way he plays, and to change that would be to take away what makes him good. With any good player, you're going to run a high risk of injury for the simple reason that good players tend to be the ones who push their bodies the hardest. I'm not saying "break your leg, dude, it's your job!" but the argument of "well, he gets hurt too much" is just dumb to me.

    I think players should be taught and encouraged to be fearless on the field. Then be cautious in the way they are handled off the field, so that when they are put there they know they have management's full confidence in their ability to play, both talent-wise and health-wise. Then they will play their best, and they will go all out, and if they get hurt, you deal.
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Good Post VaticanPlum. I think we do want these guys to go all out. A couple of points though:

    1. Going all out is not measured by how hard a guy runs to his position or running to first on a walk. Some guys need to do that to keep the energy level consistent and always up. Coffey running in from the pen is an example. But, because player A does and player B doesn't, it does not mean player A is playing harder.

    2. Some players cross the line from fearless to negligent. In basketball they call it "playing out of control." I would think that a guy with a pattern of outs on the bases and collisions in the field, too frequently crosses the line.

    There is a fine line between hard-nosed, which we all love, and stupid.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Freel and Reds' tradition

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Good Post VaticanPlum. I think we do want these guys to go all out. A couple of points though:

    1. Going all out is not measured by how hard a guy runs to his position or running to first on a walk. Some guys need to do that to keep the energy level consistent and always up. Coffey running in from the pen is an example. But, because player A does and player B doesn't, it does not mean player A is playing harder.

    2. Some players cross the line from fearless to negligent. In basketball they call it "playing out of control." I would think that a guy with a pattern of outs on the bases and collisions in the field, too frequently crosses the line.

    There is a fine line between hard-nosed, which we all love, and stupid.
    Yep, agreed on both points. The former to me is always a stupid argument (the awesome thing about baseball is that it goes from being a full-rest game to an all-out game in .02 seconds -- but only DURING the game). And as to the second point, that's just good coaching to me.

    Is there anybody on this board who has coached at, say, the high-school level or above? I realize sometimes how little I know about it, and I'd love to hear what people think coaches' responsibilities are at this level (esp. vs. the minor-league level) and how much of an effect they really have.
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