Via Chad Cushnir of FirstCoastNews.com:
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.
There aren’t many details available at this time.
Freel batted .268/.354/.369 with 143 stolen bases over parts of eight seasons in the major leagues. He played for the Blue Jays, Reds, Orioles, Cubs and Royals before finishing his career with the independent-league Somerset Patriots in 2010.
Freel, who began working with youth baseball players after his retirement, was 36 years old.
UPDATE, 11:05 PM: A couple things to add …
- SB Nation’s Red Reporter notes that Freel, who had just been named the head baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in Florida, was a father and a husband.
- Known for an aggressive, go-all-out style of defense, Freel told reporters in June 2007 that he had already suffered “nine or 10” concussions.
The Yankees just released a statement saying that Yankee Stadium will be undergoing “enhancements” this offseason. The enhancements include:
- The Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, which is basically one of those “kids run around and climb on crap play areas” not unlike those you see in the middle of shopping malls. Except, of course, it’s baseball-themed. Parents of little ones will likely appreciate that. People without kids will likely watch from afar, horrified, and will check their bags for hand sanitizer before getting anywhere near it. As someone who has been on both sides of that interaction, it’s all good. It’s how it should be for all involved;
- The MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck which is, not surprisingly, an outdoor gathering space/bar in center field near the batter’s eye;
- Bullpen landings which are gathering spaces/bars near the bullpens;
- The AT&T Sports Lounge at Section 134 on the Field Level. It’s a bar with big screen TVs showing the game that is going on just outside the bar; and
- Budweiser Party Decks at Sections 311 and 328. Which are hopefully explanatory.
Artist’s renderings here.
The park will lose around 2,000 seats to make space for these additions, but will likely make up for that and then some with added revenue from all of the Yankees fans partying on. In decks.
No surprise here: the Cubs have just named Jon Lester their Game 1 World Series starter.
Lester has allowed two earned runs in 21 innings over three starts this postseason and was the co-MVP in the NLCS. Lester will face off against Indians ace Corey Kluber.
On the season Lester went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and notched 197 Ks against 52 walks in 202.2 innings.