David Freese Just Became Pittsburgh's Favorite Pirate
BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) – David Freese has had enough. Enough of losing, enough of watching great players shipped out, and enough of the kind of attitude on the field and in the clubhouse that doesn’t seem to care about losing.
“I don’t think we lost 87 games because Marte wasn’t there or Kang wasn’t there,” said the 34-year old upon officially reporting to Pirate City. “We lost 87 games because our environment doesn’t allow it. I think that’s something we have to work on. I think it’s important to focus on the foundational components of what it takes to have a winning culture.”
Despite looking ahead to what will probably be a back-up role on the 2018 club, Freese expressed disappointment with the atmosphere surrounding the team.
A winning atmosphere simply hasn’t existed in 2016 and 2017, and Freese sees it in the way the team is viewed around baseball.
“It’s not that hard to understand. You go out there and you have a job to do. We have to take pride on getting that vibe in the air, that when people come in to our place, they’re going to have to work their tail off to win that series. The last two years people come in and they’re just like ‘Oh, we have the Pirates, let’s take care of ‘em.’”
Freese’s criticism extended beyond the players on the field and the coaching staff in the dugout, though.
“As an organization, you have the ability to excite thousands of people. I don’t understand why you don’t take advantage of that. It just boggles my mind. Some people wait their whole life to have an organization win.”
Echoing the sentiments of Pirates fans since the trades of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, Freese questioned the organization’s commitment to winning.
“You have to understand when you walk through the door why we’re here. Is it to stay out of the red a little bit? It’s about winning. We’re all better for it. Do we have to win? Not necessarily, but damn, you have to be exhausted at the end of the year, because you tried your tail off collectively, to win as many games as you could. And I think the fans deserve that in any city, especially as passionate as these guys are. And we deserve it.”
“You look at the Steelers, and the Penguins. You got the Pirates, and if I’m handling the situation, I’d be losing sleep trying to compete with those other two teams. To have all three teams in a city like Pittsburgh be on top of each league, that would be incredible.”
Goodness. And that's not even the end of his comments - there's more truth that he speaks to Mr. Mack and yes, it is glorious. Freese, a seasoned vet who knows what it's like to be on a winning organization, came into the Pirates organization with the impression that he'd be a utility player, but then that whole Kang degeneracy thing happened and all of a sudden he's fielding line drives to third on a full-time basis, so if anybody can speak truths about the organization and team mentality, it's him.
Also myself being a long-time Cardinals fan (I know, very contradictory, but it all roots back to Tino Martinez being on the team in 2002 + Pujols & Jimmy Edmonds helped), Freese was an intricate part of the Redbirds winning the series in 2011. Utility, full-time or damn player-manager, you want the Iceman on your ball team because of stuff like this. We as fans have been wanting someone in the club to say something that echoes our sentiments and you can thank Freese for this epic no punch-pulling sesh. It reminds of the ending of "...And Justice For All" (the Al Pacino flick, not the Metallica album) where our boy Al just goes ballistic:
"I'm gonna get him!" Freese is in gives no damns mode and it's great. He's frustrated for the fans, for the young players and vets like J-Hay. I hope Nutty & Hunty's ears are pinned back. I can just imagine Bob Walk sprinting on a beach (somewhere in Florida, maybe) with Rocky III kind of elation.
The fans said it. Now veteran player on the team said it. It's time for management to do something about it.