(Busch Stadium) There is probably not a more recognizable person in St. Louis than David Freese. Even though the 2011 World Series hero no longer plays for the home team, the memory remains etched in the minds of Cardinal fans everywhere and they show their appreciation with standing ovations nearly every time Freese returns and takes an at-bat.
Such was the case in the first two games of this recent series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. David Freese was called on to pinch-hit and the fans responded accordingly by rising to their feet.
But today was different.
Not because Freese was in the starting lineup. It was different because it may have been the last time David Freese plays a game in Busch Stadium.
“Yeah, this whole series I thought about it,” Freese admitted. “It might be. It’s more so probably looking like it, but you never say never. I really appreciate everybody in this organization, everybody in this city, and everybody who comes down to the yard.”
And with his fans, parents, aunts, uncles, and other family and friends in the seats, Freese delivered again. He hit a 390 foot home run in his first at-bat and added an RBI single an inning later as the Dodgers fell to St. Louis 11-7.
“I definitely thought this could be my last game at Busch and I hit a homer–which is a great feeling,” Freese said. “We wanted to win the series for sure, but it was a little special for me in a sense of coming back here one more time. I could be on a different team in the AL and never get a chance to come back here. All those things were running through my mind.”
Entering his 11th season, Freese will turn 36 years old the end of this month and is under contract with the Dodgers through 2019. He is just five hits away from 1000 in his career, but isn’t focused on achieving more milestones before hanging up the cleats.
“I’m not saying it is, but it might be–but it’s not going to be about how I’m playing,” Freese explained. “Obviously, if I don’t play well then that’s definitely it. But my idea of retiring isn’t solely based on how I’m playing.”
No, having provided so many special moments for others to enjoy, David Freese is looking forward to being able to take in some of those moments himself.
“I’ve always said I think growing up here probably plays a little bit extra to it,” Freese said. “What we did in ’11, especially, it’s just special. And I think about my future of sitting in the seats for a lot of ballgames here at this stadium with my kid, with my friends, with my family. I’m looking forward to the rest of this year, but I’m looking forward to those moments too.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports