Gems owner Jimmy Louthan denied any rumors of Rick Fraire leaving due to lack of wins or any other incidents.
As a manager, Rick Fraire was faced with difficult decisions on a daily basis.
Monday morning he was faced with the most arduous one he has faced in his five seasons associated with the Quincy Gems.
He decided to step away from a team in which he considered to be family.
After winning five of six games, including a 20-1 whitewashing over rival Hannibal on Sunday, the team looked like it had righted the ship after a long two-week slump.
So why did Fraire decide to make the change now?
“Management and myself had some disagreements on how the team should be ran,” the Texas native said. “So I felt it was in my best interest and the best interest of the team if I step away and let someone else guide the ship.”
Gems owner Jimmy Louthan denied any rumors of Fraire leaving due to lack of wins or any other incidents.
Fraire was suspended by the Prospect League for two games after an in-game altercation with Danville coach Eric Coleman which led to both benches being cleared.
Although the team seemed to rally around Fraire after the incident on July 9, Fraire felt like he was unfairly judged from what happened.
“I just want to give the real side of what happened,” Fraire stated. “Coach Coleman went out to argue the warning from the umpire and then proceeded to charge and curse at my player (Riley Pittman). That’s when I ran to defend my guy. We grabbed each other, that’s it. No punches were thrown. But I just felt like it was my job to defend my kid who was being approached and cursed at by coach Coleman.”
The incident happened after Bailey Montgomery and Pittman were hit by pitches in back-to-back at bats in the fourth inning while the Gems were leading 13-2. Montgomery had homered in his previous at bat which marked the second straight game he had hit a long ball against the Dans.
Prospect League Commissioner Dennis Bastien reviewed video of the incident and declared it not to be an actual fight since no punches were thrown which is why only two games were handed down to both managers.
A photo, in a local Danville news publication, was published of Fraire and Coleman which appeared to be worse than what actually transpired.
Fraire wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly what happened.
“I have never been able to defend myself from day, one so I think it’s important people know what really happened,” he said.
The departed coach also wanted to make sure the Quincy community knows how much they have meant to him over the course of the last five years.
“My host family, Lynn and Jim Doleman, they took me in and I have become part of the family, Fraire said. “That relationship will last a lifetime. Words cannot express how much my host family as well as all the players host families have meant to the Gems. Without them none of this is possible.
“And the city of Quincy, myself and all the boys love it. It’s amazing seeing the support they brought to the park every night.”
Fraire also gave thanks to former owner/manager Chris Martin for bringing him aboard five summers ago.
Although the end was not the way Fraire had envisioned, he said he has no hard feelings towards the Gems organization.
“We may not have ended on the best of terms, I consider them to be a first-place organization,” Fraire said. “They are high quality people and it’s been a blast to have been a Gem for these years.”
Fraire mentioned the hardest part of the decision was leaving behind his players -- both current and former.
“They are who have helped make it the best five summers of my life,” he said. “I have gained so many sons and brothers throughout this process and it will never be the same without them. I will continue to pray for their success in life and being good human beings. I am very proud of them.”
Fraire is spending this week speaking with his players before preparing to head back to Texas.