Family enjoys supporting St. Louis Cardinals

by Sonja J. Keith

Cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals is a family affair for Dr. Bill and Freda Freeman of Conway and their son, Dr. Alex Freeman.

“Baseball is a generation thing for us,” said Freda. “Bill’s dad took him to his first game at Sportsman Park in 1963. He was hooked!”

Bill shared his love of the game and the St. Louis team with son Alex and took him to a game when he was 5. “In ’87, Bill took Alex to a postseason game when he was 7, and Alex was hooked.”

All three are involved in the Freeman Family Clinic in West Conway. It should come as no surprise that the clinic reflects their favorite sports team and is decorated with St. Louis Cardinal items and memorabilia.

During the regular season, the Freemans have season weekend tickets and attend about 40 out of 81 games that are played at home. “Our 2013 season was very impressive,” said Freda of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We had amazing rookies and Mike Matheny did an outstanding job as a second year manager. In 2012, he took the team to the NLCS and now to the World Series.

The family’s interest in the game and knowledge of the team is evident. “We have the best catcher in baseball with Yadier Molina. (Michael) Wacha is someone to watch in the upcoming years with his first year out of college baseball and into the majors with two almost no-hitters,” said Freda. “I think the team is a close-knit group of young men and you have your veterans being good mentors to these young new kids.”

The Freemans have also attended some fundraising events hosted and attended by Cardinal players and have discovered those who wear the St. Louis uniform are just as impressive off the field. “We have made a few player endorsed charity events where the team members do more than just make an appearance. For Carlos Beltran’s fundraiser for his charity, the guys were bidding on silent auction items, posing for pictures with fans, and seemed to enjoy supporting their teammate’s cause.”  

During post season, the Freemans make most of the games depending on if the National League loses or wins the All Star game in July. “If they are the losers, then we play on the weekends, which is great. If the National League wins the All Star game, we have home field advantage, which puts them playing in St. Louis during the middle of the week,” Freda said. “So, I am not necessarily for a National League winning for the All Star game. We do generally try to make a few spring training games during the winter to check out the upcoming roster.”

The Cardinals have made it to the World Series several times in recent years – and the Freemans have attended games in St. Louis.

“As far as the World Series, we have been to all the games played in St. Louis the past four times – in 2004, ’06, ’11 and ’13,” said Freda. “In 2011, Bill and Alex went to watch the Cardinals play in Texas Stadium with the Rangers for Game 3 of the World Series.”

According to Freda, “there is nothing like” attending a World Series game. “The Clydesdales make an appearance around the field, Hall of Famers throw out the first pitch and there’s reminiscing about Stan the Man (Musial),” she said. “It’s exciting with the teams lining up for introductions, rally towels and the music!”

It appears that the family’s affection for the St. Louis Cardinals is in their DNA. “We have an 8-year-old granddaughter in New Orleans who learned how to score a game last summer. She moved in mid-year last year, and bonded almost immediately with her teacher – the teacher’s dad was a Cardinal fan and her brother was named Stan after Musial. This year during the NLCS and WS, Kiley would text me ‘which inning did we score, who drove in the run, who got the runs’, etc. So I think we have a fan there to carry on the tradition.”

While they would like to see St. Louis come out on top against the Boston Red Sox, the Freemans are Cardinal fans for life. “We don’t look at the baseball games as something special anymore. It is part of our routine. We love it. Win or lose – that’s our team. Go Cards!”