ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Sometimes St. Louis wasn’t as good to David Freese, as he was to it. The Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman opened up to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale about being the hometown hero in the 2011 World Series, and why he had to get away from it all.

Here are some of the highlights and excerpts from the article:

Freese said he often didn’t want to get out of bed because he was struggling with depression.

I was depressed. I was always depressed….I never tried to do anything to myself, but I didn’t care about my life. I didn’t care what would happen to me. It was almost to a point that if this is my time, so be it? And there was definitely a lack of care about my well-being at certain times, for sure.

That pain he says was what led him away from a baseball scholarship at Mizzou and too much alcohol and partying. The story talks about his accident on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 when he crashed his Range Rover into a tree.

“You win the World Series in your hometown, and you become this guy in a city that loves Cardinal baseball,’’ Freese says, “and sometimes it’s the last guy you want to be.

“So you start building this façade, trying to be something I was not.

“And the whole time, I was scared to death what was going to happen to me after baseball.’’

Nightengale writes, that Freese’s trade to the Los Angeles Angels was almost exactly a year after that crash and when manager Mike Matheny told him the news, the two cried and hugged. Matt Carpenter was one of Freese’s closest friends on the team, and he also knew Freese leaving was the right decision:

“Being the hometown hero may seem great, but it’s usually not a fun thing. Someone is always asking for something. You constantly have people hanging around. That can be stressful, and really challenging.’’

Freese says the pain is gone now. It started with meeting his wife, who has never been a baseball fan – which Freese says was exactly what he was looking for.

He flushed alcohol out of his system. He found a counselor that soothed his pain. He found the love of his life.

“I can say I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life,’’ says Freese, who did not enter a formal alcohol rehabilitation program. “Before, I used to let baseball define me. Being the World Series MVP, that’s just part of my story. It’s not who I am.”

Read the entire story by Nightengale on USA

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