There was something special about that game. Something that I knew that I would never forget.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 27, 2016
Last night while watching the Cubs win their first WS game at Wrigley since the dinosaurs went extinct, I was going through some baseball news articles. I stumbled upon something that made me remember just how possible a comeback is. It was an article posted on stltoday.com of fans telling their stories of where they were on October 27th, 2011. The stories range from being at the birth of their child to meeting the girl that they are together with today. That night was special to all of us and is something we will remember for the rest of our lives. For a moment, I want to forget about the fact that the Cardinals are not in the World Series and think back to a time when they were the comeback kids! This is my story of the night that David Freese shocked the world.
David Freese is not just another major league player to me.
My dad, Tony Dattoli, coached at Meramec Community College for 12 years and taught me everything I know about baseball. For me, baseball was not a sport but more of a lifestyle growing up as my brothers and I were constantly with the team. We traveled with them on road trips, played video games with them in their hotel rooms and much more. As kids, they made us feel like we were a part of the team and we all felt tied to each player. David Freese was one such player in his time playing for Coach Dattoli. As he made his way up the minor league system, “how did Freese do today?” was a frequent question around the house. Back in 2007 when the Cardinals got him in a trade for Jim Edmonds, we all thought it was the greatest trade in the history of all trades ever. None of us were concerned with who we sent off or who else we got. There was only one thing we cared about. We would potentially get to see someone that our father coached and that we have seen and “knew” play in St. Louis for the Cardinals. Little did we know that Freese would do so much more than what we as kids imagined.
Fast forward a couple years and its October 27th, 2011. And my brothers and I are sitting in the stands watching the game with my dad.
The game did not go the way that we would hoped initially. Especially with Freese dropping a routine pop up, we thought the series was over going into the 9th and down by 2. After playing so poorly, I turned to my brother and said, “Well, this was fun while it lasted.” I hate to say it, but I had lost all faith and completely dismissed any possibility of a comeback. My initial assumptions were strengthened when Theriot struck out swinging. But then Pujols doubled; then Berkman walked. Soon it was 2 outs with 2 runners on in the 9th inning of an elimination game of the World Series. It was a situation that every little kid dreams about conquering. And in that situation, stood someone that I remembered from back when I was a kid, David Freese.
Looking over at my dad, he seemed nervous and excited at the same time. At the plate, stood almost a piece of himself. All the work and all the time he put into teaching and coaching Freese was being tested in the most perfect scenario possible. Now down to his final strike, what we witnessed can never be described in words. His swing was aggressive and smooth. As the ball smashed off the wall, every single person in the stadium screamed and jumped for joy. Freese had just tied the game and kept the World Series dream alive. I was never so happy to be wrong in my entire life!
— Greg Wallace (@GregWallace66) October 27, 2016
A few innings later, Freese cemented his spot in baseball history.
As if that night was straight out of a movie, Freese once again got his chance. A chance that he would not let go to waste. The same short compact swing that my dad taught me, Freese used to send a ball over the center field wall. His home run seemed like it came straight from The Natural! It put an exclaimation mark to an already perfect night for us. As he rounded the bases, I knew that I would never experience a moment quite like this again. For giving me the greatest game I will ever witness, thank you David Freese!