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Cardinal Fans at Fall League Reflect on the 10th anniversary of ‘The Freese Game’

By Judah Brody

On October 27th, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were one strike away from losing the World Series before David Freese tied the game with a triple to right field and eventually cinched a Redbird victory via an 11th inning walk-off solo homer.

“It was kinda surreal, just because we thought it was over, and then out of nowhere the hero showed up,” said Chris Zettek, who watched the nail biter game live at Busch Stadium with his wife, Tina Zettek.

Chris thinks game six is a top five baseball game of all time. Tina has it at number one.

“There were a lot [of fans] that had left and I was very disappointed in the fact that they gave up,” said Tina Zettek before the game.

Chris believed that the fans who had left didn’t frequent the ballpark and only showed up for the World Series because they knew somebody who could get them a ticket.

“That’s not true fans, that’s lucky fans that got a ticket,” said Tina, interrupting her husband.

Loyal to Cardinal Nation, the couple stayed in the ballpark as Tina clutched her rally towel to her face and Chris mentally prepared himself for a Rangers championship.

Gary Pauludette, a former employee of Busch Stadium, watched game six from his St. Louis home as his stepson sent him videos of the fans in frenzy at the game. As a younger man, he rushed the field alongside other fans after the 1982 Cardinals won a championship in game seven.

“I went outside the ballpark after the game, people flooded downtown, as you walked down Broadway people were handing you beers out of your car… that was the best,” said Pauludette.

Pauludette also said he was present for Lou Brock’s 3,000th hit and Mark McGwire’s record-breaking 62nd home run. In his opinion, special moments at the ballpark are best experienced as a kid.

Alex Franzen brought his infant son to Sloan Park to give him an early taste of the ballpark experience. He watched game six from his dorm at Illinois State University with a couple beers and his roommate, also a Cardinal fan.

“I was losing my mind. My roommate and I were both Cardinal fans and I probably had no nails left, chewed them all off watching…game six,” said Franzen.

The series was the best he’d ever seen, but game seven was extra special for him because he “didn’t know how to process” the Redbirds 2006 championship as a high school student.

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