It doesn’t seem like it’s been three years since Ryan Freel took his own life, yet ere we are on the eve of that atrocious looking Concussion movie starring Will Smith and the Ryan Freel saga is the perfect reminder that head trauma and CTE aren’t just a football issue. Guys that throw their bodies around like that with reckless abandon and sustain a lot of head injuries are gonna be at a higher risk for concussion related problems later in life than those who don’t. That’s just facts. Freely did that more than just about anyone I’ve ever seen in any professional sport. Personally I wasn’t a huge fan cause I was just witing for the day he’d go crashing head long into Ken Griffey Jr’s knee and end one of the more storied careers in baseball history. Not to mention his hustle took precedence over intelligent decision making at times and he made a lot of stupid plays. I’m in the minority though. Most Reds fans loved Freely’s heart and hustle. Whatever your opinion on Ryan Freel the baseball player, it’s still awful to think about how things ended for him. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like for your father to take his own life just a couple days before Christmas, but there’s a family out there who still have to deal with the memory of that every single holiday season.
RIP Ryan Freel.
Ok, I’ve been beating around the bush trying to think of a way to casually bring this up but I can’t so I’ll just come right out and say it. We’ve got to talk about this Farney thing. In case you don’t remember, Ryan Freel had an imaginary friend that lived in his head named Farney that he used to talk to all the time apparently
“He’s a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him,” said Freel, acting as if he finally crashed into too many walls, ran into too many catchers and dived into too many dugouts. “That little midget in my head said, ‘That was a great catch, Ryan,’ I said, ‘Hey, Farney, I don’t know if that was you who really caught that ball, but that was pretty good if it was.’ Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell ’em I’m talking to Farney.’ “
Dude said that exact quote out loud on TV. I searched the annals of the Internet far and wide to try and find the interview, but I remember hearing that clear as day. Not some late night, post game interview where a beat writer misconstrued what he was saying or anything. No, this was like a pregame segment with Jim Day or something where Freely just came right out and said he talks to imaginary midgets in his brain all the time. That should have been the final straw right then and there. No more baseball. No more at bats, no more diving catches, no more stolen bases, no more concussions. Just stop everything and put Freely in a cage for the rest of his life so that he’s unable to harm himself or anyone else. That’s pre-crime shit. Sorry if that’s kind of a dickish thing to say or bring up the day after the anniversary of his death, but the Farney thing didn’t get nearly the kind of talk that it should have. Honestly, that’s like one of the more under-recognized, not talked about nuggets in the history of Cincinnati and professional sports imho.