By Quinn Jamieson
Tuesday marked the 26th year that Kyle Freeland has been alive, and also provided an opportunity for him to return to his childhood and live out his baseball dreams.
As a young boy growing up in Denver, Freeland dreamed of playing baseball in the big leagues. He accomplished this feat in 2017, but nothing embodies the MLB and the dream of young player more than Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
Fenway is the oldest ballpark in the MLB, opening in 1912. It has played host to some of the most iconic players, teams, and moments in the league's history. Baseball fans will always remember Ted Williams final career home run on his final at-bat, or Carlton Fisk willing the ball fair as he hit a walk-off home run during game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
These are moments that define the game of baseball and inspire young players to fall in love with the game.
Freeland wasn’t alive for either of those moments, but the history of Fenway and the Boston Red Sox isn’t lost on him. He will be on the mound at Fenway for the first time in his career, in his first ever match up against Boston, the defending World Series Champions.
“It’s definitely going to be special, Freeland said. “With that organization, and the history that it has and the culture that the Boston Red Sox have in general... It's going to be really cool to be able to be in those situations out on the field and playing against them.”
Tuesday also happens to be Freeland's 26th birthday, but the talented pitcher insists that it won’t add any pressure to his performance.
“There is no reason to add any pressure because it's my birthday,” Freeland said. “I'll go about my start the way I usually do.”
Last season the way he went about his starts was highly effective. Freeland is coming off the best year of his career where he emerged as arguably the best single-season Rockies pitcher in history. He finished 4th in the NL Cy Young voting, posted a 2.85 ERA, had 17 wins and led the Rockies to the NLDS.
Freeland has given Rockies fans hope that the inconsistent pitching that has derailed the franchise over its 27 years in the MLB can come to an end.
This season, however, hasn’t come easy. Statistically, he has regressed in nearly every major category. His ERA has fallen to 5.84 and his 29 runs against are tied for the lead in the NL.
“I just need to get my mechanics back to where they were,” Freeland said “I need to have good rhythm and I’m really focusing on getting down the mound in a good line, and not trying to do too much.
Freeland is confident that he can turn this season around, and Tuesday at Fenway Park against the Red Sox is an opportunity to do so.
The more important result for Freeland is getting the win and starting off the Rockies eight-game road trip on the right foot.
“We’ve got to take it one game at a time,” Freeland said. “It’s three good ball clubs that are having a good season so far. We just have to go out there every day and take care of our business.”