Time away from baseball: New York Mets minor leaguer, DHS grad Frenzel returns to North Dakota to hunt
The grind of playing professional sports can be difficult — both physically and mentally.
“Hunting is fun and you have to have that thing where you can just get away,” Frenzel said. “We are really blessed as baseball players where we have an offseason. It’s my time where I can clear my mind and get back to work. I’ve loved the outdoors since I was a kid.
“I thought I was going to be a professional fisherman when I was a kid. Right now, I get to do the things that I love and it’s awesome. It’s such a blessing.”
The place he does a majority of his hunting and fishing is in the state of North Dakota with family and friends.
Since becoming a professional baseball player, Frenzel returned to western North Dakota to spend quality time in Dickinson. However, he isn’t bashful about where a majority of his time in North Dakota is spent doing.
“I love to hunt and I come home to hunt,” he said. “I like to bow hunt and I love the Badlands. Hunting and fishing has always been my passion. For me to get away, that’s what I’ll do to get away. I’ll hunt by myself all day long.”
The prize Frenzel was searching for was a big mule deer buck. It took a little time, but he made it count with a 5-by-5 buck.
He spent most of time searching in the Badlands and north of Beach. Though Frenzel was giving his body a month rest after the season, he said trekking across the Badlands isn’t an easy.
When Frenzel and the Mets’ 2011 first-round draft pick Brandon Nimmo met each other an instant friendship started. Nimmo, who is from Cheyenne, Wyo., and Frenzel shared similar interests — the three biggest interests were baseball, hunting and fishing.
After their first full season playing on the same team in 2012 — the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ Class A short-season affiliate — Nimmo traveled to North Dakota to go bow hunting with Frenzel.
“When we got together in the Mets organization, you kind of gravitate to people who are from your region and that understand where you are coming from,” Nimmo said. “Cole is definitely one of those guys. We kind of group Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana together, because we all have a pretty understanding where each guy is coming from. It’s really easy to connect with Cole and that’s why we have a friendship that we do. We understand each other. It’s one where we both benefitted from. We are both hard-nose hard workers.”
During the 2013 season, the two played the entire year at the Mets’ Class A affiliate Savannah (Ga.) Sand Gnats. In Savannah, Frenzel and Nimmo built a strong friendship with the Mets’ 2012 first-round draft pick Kevin Plawecki. To take their minds off the game of baseball for brief moments, the three went fishing.
“(Frenzel) got me into some fishing during spring training when we lived together and then when we lived together in Savannah as well,” Plawecki said. “I’m not much a of fisherman myself, but he got me into a little bit of that. He’s trying to get me out to North Dakota to do a little hunting, but I don’t think I have the patience for that.”
All three were attempting to get their name on the Frenzel family yearly fishing trophy. The trophy has names of more than just people in the Frenzel’s immediate family.
“We’ve had to add to the plaque, because it has been going since 1996 or 1997,” Frenzel said. “Every year everyone tries to get on that trophy. It’s competitive and everyone wants to be on it. Nimmo hasn’t got on there yet and he’s trying so hard to get on there. When the holidays roll around, you have all the bragging rights. My sister Kaylee is on there probably as many times as I am and she fishes about half as much as I do.”
Nimmo said fishing trips are more about having fun, but there is still a level of competiveness to see who can catch the biggest fish.
“Anytime that you are dealing with an athlete in general, everything is a competition,” Nimmo said with a laugh. “It might not be said, but whoever catches the biggest fish or gets the biggest buck they are going to hang it over somebody’s head. That’s just kind of a given when you are with athletes.”