Dodgers: David Freese was the Clutch Veteran the Dodgers Needed

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LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: David Freese #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a double to score Tim Locastro #70 to take an 8-4 lead over the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: David Freese #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a double to score Tim Locastro #70 to take an 8-4 lead over the New York Mets during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers addition of David Freese is not only a veteran presence move; he’s also the 2011 World Series MVP.

The brightest of highlights that can attest to David Freese’s greatness lie no further than the 2011 Postseason and World Series. Before I break down his incomparable performance that (in my lifetime) still remains atop the highest of echelons for a position-player clutch.

I’d like to explain what the Dodgers are getting in David Freese. A consummate professional who arrives at the diamond every single day, ready to work, learn, teach, and grow, without fail. 

What the 2017 Dodgers, unfortunately, failed to understand is exactly what David Freese will bring to the Dodgers currently and further into this season and (hopefully) the postseason. 

Last year, no one (including myself and the legions of fans not old enough to fully experience or comprehend the brevity and shear shock-value that a World Series, in particular, the 1988 World Series, can bring to everyone involved) was prepared for what the Dodgers were in for.

Considering that we practically walked-away with the title, the blindside that occurred, is no one’s fault. 

The World Series, the Super Bowl, or the NBA Finals, aren’t designed to be “familiar” or “old-hat” to any of the organizations chasing them. That’s what makes going for or obtaining a championship so damned special. 

However, when an organization has the opportunity to obtain the type of personnel, be it coaches, players, maybe a GM (etc), who can fluently speak “winning” and can translate that secret language with the rest of the team, without question, every organization worth a cent will do everything in their power to apprehend that necessary talent.

I believe that David Freese is part of that necessary talent and can get the Dodgers one step closer to where we decidedly need to be. Maybe even two steps closer.

For example, players perform, they lead by example, or lead through production, players can talk to one another, present themselves with the necessary attributes to win and win now, and are therefore the best conduits for translating fluently; “winning” for teammates, then coaches, then GM’s, and then ownership, etc.

It’s a language not spoken by many because, in order to speak it, one must live it. 

When a player has already proven himself to his contemporaries that he possesses the capability to produce at the highest, championship level, he’s already won half of the battle.

I believe that David Freese is that player. Please allow me to explain.

Let’s first rewind our collective memories back to the 2011 MLB Postseason and World Series. From the beginning of the NLDS-through to the NLCS-into the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals found themselves hoisted high above their competitors through the help of an unassuming “hometown hero” in the making. 

David Freese, a quintessential gamer who’d begun epitomizing “Cardinals’ baseball” through a naturally polished approach to the game, who possessed an effortless glove-work from the hot corner, and all while continually possessing a certain air of tranquility mixed with definite poise that (somehow) managed to balance himself throughout the ferocious, never-say-die attitude that one must live-by to excel at the highest levels of Major League Baseball. This is David Freese.

An element of the clutch gene. Not many have it, however, many aspire to obtain it. David Freese came into this world with the essence of clutch wrapped around his neck, like a St. Christopher pendant that somehow abruptly appeared on his chest and never faded away. The following is a testament to clutch. 

2011 NLDS: 

Upon finishing the first fully healthy year of Freese’s career, 2011, we began to watch a man step into a role in Late-September/Early-October that many (including myself) never thought we’d see him in. Little did we know the hero who’d emerge on the other side of that year’s playoff.

In Game 4 of the NLDS (a best of five series), Freese managed to drive in four runs and force a final and decisive Game 5 versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cards went on to win and advanced to the NLCS versus the Milwaukee Brewers. 

2011 NLCS:

Now a best of seven series, Freese dominantly paced all hitters with astonishing marks of; .545 AVG, 3 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, and 7 runs scored. In a series the Cardinals won in six games, Freese was named the NLCS MVP and he and his team advanced to the 2011 World Series. 

2011 World Series:

Through Game 3 of the World Series, versus a dauntingly tough AL Texas Rangers squad, Freese had accumulated a 13-game postseason hitting-streak.

The streak was a Cardinals’ all-time record and Freese was only 2 games short of matching the all-time National League record. Game 4, however, saw Freese’s hitting streak come to an end. 

Game 6, 2011 World Series:

Game 6 found the Cardinals losing in the series, 3-2. Down to their final game, the Cards were losing Game 6 with a score of 7-5 to the Rangers going into the Bottom of the 9th. In something out of a storybook or one of the countless childhood scenarios we ran through our minds as children playing backyard pickup whiffle-ball games, the real series saw the Cards down in the Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, with 2 runners on, and David Freese up to bat.

Down to their very last strike, it was a pitcher’s count, 1-2. The pitch came in and Freese blasted a 2-run triple to send Game 6 of the World Series into extra innings. 

Not to be outdone, Freese’s next AB came in the Bottom of the 11th inning. He proceeded to rip a lead-off, walk-off HR to straight-away center field, some 420 ft into the St. Louis Skyline forcing a Game 7 and forever reminding the kid in all of us exactly why we cheer-on our heroes and why we still continue to play a kid’s game.

In moments like these, anything is possible. Freese was an actual hero. Not many people can say the same.

Game 7, 2011 World Series:

In Game 7, before Texas could catch their collective breath, Freese immediately capitalized on the momentum that he and his team built. In the bottom of the 1st inning, Freese tagged a 2-run double to give the Cards an early lead and a lead that prove to be enough.

The St. Louis Cardinals were the 2011 World Series champs and David Freese was the envy of every man, woman, and child across the world. 

MVP Honors:

Throughout the entirety of that magical postseason run, David Freese amassed a grand total of 21 RBI’s, a record that still holds true to this day.

In addition, Freese became only the sixth player ever to win an LCS and World Series MVP in the same year and won the Babe Ruth Award, as the overall MVP for the entire 2011 postseason. 

2012 Postseason:

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In a season following the unthinkable, Freese made his one and only All-Star team appearance as the “Last Vote” getter in 2012. Later that year, he faced-off against the Madison Bumgarner that we all know (and hate) from the dreaded 2012 World Series’ Champion San Francisco Giants.

However, before Mad Bum’s crazy World Series versus Kansas City, Freese hit a 2-run HR in Game 1 of the 2012 NLCS off of Bumgarner. 

To that point in Freese’s illustrious postseason and World Series career, he hit to the tune of a Hall of Famer’s postseason career: .386 AVG, 11 doubles, 6 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, and a .739 SLG % (in at least 100 postseason plate appearances). 

THIS SEASON:

As you can hopefully tell from the article, David Freese is certainly a seasoned-veteran who can help the 2018 Dodgers from here-on-out.  Freese is already batting .400 with one home run and three RBI’s as a Dodger.

Resting Justin Turner was the right move. dark. Next

There’s not a doubt in my mind, either through his bat or through his teachings, Freese will undoubtedly help the Dodgers through the hardest and worst of times. While they ascend and will hopefully prepare for the best and the greatest of times.   Time will undoubtedly tell, however, for now, here’s to you Dave. 

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