The name Kevin Frandsen might sound familiar to a true PawSox fan. The infielder appeared in 17 games for Pawtucket in 2010. He was back in town for the first time since, as a member of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. We had the opportunity to discuss, among other things, the politics of baseball as well as a huge obstacle he has had to overcome this year.
Although he appeared in just a handful of games in Pawtucket, he seemed happy to be back. “It’s great. Being in the Red Sox organization, there’s a lot of tradition, a lot of demands. Expectations of good baseball. I really enjoyed that when I was here. I know it was only a few games. (Former Pawtucket teammate and current Rochester first baseman) Aaron Bates and I have remained good friends. We always talk about it. It’s a great place to play.”
2010 was an up and down year for Frandsen. He was designateed for assignment by Boston and was picked up by the Angels. He was in the Big Leagues for most of the year and despite leading the team in hitting, he was sent to the minors for about a month. He finished up in Anaheim in September. In the offseason, Frandsen signed with San Diego. That didn’t work out, so he ended up signing with the Phillies and here he is, with the Iron Pigs. After a while, the nomadic lifestyle can get to you. “The first time I had a non-upbeat attitude for a consistent period of time was when the Angels sent me to the minors. I really busted my butt to become what I was. I finally got to show who I was in the Big Leagues and for whatever reason, they got another guy and stuck with someone else. You live and you learn. Certain things happen in baseball and you learn to deal with it.”
2011 has been a challenge, as well. Frandsen tested positive for an illegal substance and was suspended by Baseball for 50 games. Naturally, you hear that and automatically think steroids or performance enhancing drugs, or maybe recreational drugs. Wrong on both counts. Frandsen explains. “It was a 50 game suspension for using Ritalin. I had it prescribed to me by four different doctors over the years as an A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder) drug. Major League Baseball is the one who decides who does and doesn’t take it. It was my fault. I took it one time. Literally, one time and I paid the price for it. Obviously, I learned a lesson. It’s not my style to do that type of stuff. It’s not me. What matters to me is my family, and they know the type of person that I am. I have been drug-free my whole life.”
Although Frandsen concedes that he was responsible, he still insists that he did nothing wrong. “In all honesty, watching others deny allegations over the years, the one time I did do it, I figured I had to be a man about it. Admit my mistake. Do I do any other drugs? No. That’s a fact. The whole time, I never felt guilty about it. Do I know I’m at fault? Yes. It is what it is. A big growing process. Hopefully others will notice what happened to me and not make the same mistake.”
Kevin “manned up”. He admits his error and is willing to share his story. “I was never afraid to talk about it. I didn’t think it was a ‘steroid type’ situation. I fully cooperated and did everything possible to provide them with any information they needed, The doctors I had seen in years past with the Giants, the Angels, the Red Sox, the Padres. It was out of my hands.” He was clearly frustrated as he summed up his point of view. “It’s a condition I’ve had for a long time, just one of those deals, that if I was in the ‘normal’ world, in everyday life, it would be different.”
Kevins’ story might make you think twice the next time you’re ready to point a finger at someone.