Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: An Off-the-Wall Look at Freese's Historic Night

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: An Off-the-Wall Look at Freese's Historic Night

Article excerpt

The only thing I wanted was the baseball to hit me right in the face.

Or in any place. Just hit me, I thought, because I am the Busch Stadium outfield wall and the Cardinals sure have their backs against me.

Game 6, 2011 World Series, five years ago Thursday. And for this debacle-turned-spectacle, I had the best seat in the house, even though I had to stand.

I've experienced a lot in my 10 years, but no one not even my ivy-covered ilk in Chicago or the green, monstrous counterpart in Boston's park ever had seen this. Twice, a team down to the final strike of a season in the same game and twice, overcoming it with a hit.

And so, today, I'm not just a fly on the wall I am the wall, here to tell you about the fly on the wall, hit by David Freese, frozen in your memory.

If you recall, the Cardinals trailed the series 3-2 and the game 7-5.

Bottom of the ninth. One out. Albert Pujols came to the plate.

You probably couldn't tell, because you were caught up in the moment, but out in the outfield, I was getting misty because the writing was on the, well, me. This surely was Albert's final at-bat at Busch. Someday, his number would end up on me, in left field, alongside the other Cardinal immortals. But after this Series, he was headed for free agency.

In classic Pujols fashion, he drilled a double only one man, The Man, ever has hit more doubles in a Cardinals uniform.

The Texas Rangers pitcher, Neftali Feliz, still was in line to join Adam Wainwright and some graying Fantasy Camp participants as the only pitchers to close out a World Series in my presence.

But Feliz walked Lance Berkman, who previous played in Houston, home of my cousin, the rapper Paul.

Next up was Allen Craig, who, like Berkman, already had homered in Game 6.

Struck 'em out.

Two on, two outs. David Freese up.

Between you and me and the well, between you and me I had little belief that Freese could pull this off.

The kid from Lafayette High was hitless for the night. …

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