I apologize for breaking the fourth wall here for a bit, but as a writer, I find that one of the most difficult tasks to write about is death. The tonality of such a piece is often difficult to hit just right and the final product never grasps what was truly important in the first place; the loss.
So here I sit, trying to find the right tone to discuss the death of former Toronto Blue Jay Ryan Freel.
I can handle this in one of two way, the first being as a straight up news piece. I can tell you that the 36-year-old Freel was found dead in his home of an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound on Saturday night. I can tell you that while being a tenth round pick of Toronto in 1995, he only played in 9 games with the Blue Jays. Freel would make a name for himself as a role-player for the Cincinnati Reds, enjoying career years from 2004-2006 while averaging 36 stolen bases a season and playing all over the infield and outfield for the Reds with a cumulative bWAR of 8.5 during that time.
On the other hand, I can handle this from a position of anger. Yes, I can understand that the rampant discussions pertaining to concussions and how they may have caused Freel to deal with bi-polar and may have contributed to his decision. However, the anger stems from the fact that he leaves behind a wife and three young daughters behind, without a father and without a husband. He did not have the strength to deal with his struggles head on and now puts that weight onto four others who have to somehow find their own strength while dealing with the sorrow of loss. It is selfish and heartbreaking, all at the time.
In the end, I can only use Freel’s choice to help others make a better one. If you, the reader, are having these thoughts or know someone who is, please reach out to those that can help you. Organizations like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are there to help guide you through those tough times.