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Freel arrested for DUI


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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Reds' Freel arrested for drunk driving

By Jim Hannah

Enquirer staff writer

NEWPORT - With just the first game of the season played, a second Reds player has been charged with driving drunk this year.

Ryan Freel, a backup infielder and outfielder, was charged just hours after the Reds home opener with driving under the influence, having an open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle, careless driving and driving with an expired license plate.

Freel called his mother in Florida from jail to get someone to bail him out, according to police records. Patrick Freel Sr., the baseball player's father, paid $500 to secure a bond for his son. Freel will be arraigned on the charges at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Campbell District Court.

"I apologize for the embarrassment I have caused my family, teammates, the Reds organization, Reds fans and the City of Cincinnati," said Freel, in a statement released through the Reds this evening. "As Major League Baseball players, we are role models for young fans and should be aware of our behavior both on and off the field. I intend to handle this matter in an upright and honest fashion and will do everything in my power to assure that I never again find myself in this situation."

Bellevue Police Chief William Cole said Freel had "behaved like a complete gentleman during this unfortunate incident."

In the statement from the Reds, General Manager Dan O'Brien and field manager Dave Miley said the club couldn't talk about pending legal proceedings.

"However, we do not condone behavior of the type charged, which is wholly inconsistent with the principles of this organization and our community and is detrimental to the positive direction we seek to follow," Miley and O'Brien said in the statement.A Bellevue police officer pulled over Freel's 2001 black GMC Tahoe at 11:15 p.m. on Monday after he saw it jump a curb while making a U-turn at the southbound entrance ramp to Interstate-471 off of Cowens Drive. The officer also noted on his report the Tahoe had an expired Florida license plate and appeared to have been in a recent wreck.

Another Reds player was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol just six weeks ago.

On Feb. 24 in Sarasota, Fla., minor league pitcher Bubba Nelson was arrested and charged with driving drunk and operating a motor vehicle with an out-of-state license while his Florida license was suspended.

According to court documents, Nelson later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving and was sentenced to probation and community service.

The Reds did not suspend Nelson from baseball-related activities, but he was enrolled in the Employee Assistance Program. He was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga on March 16.

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News like this sure makes Cincy look like a drinkin' mans party town! Even though I've never had a DUI, I can at least identify with these guys. They're ball players. Not some bunch of wussy choir boys. They're gonna screw up like this from time to time.

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