BOSTON -- After growing up a Cardinals fan in a suburb of St. Louis, David Freese was a student at the University of South Alabama when the Cardinals matched up against the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series. He remembers watching with a vested rooting interest before quickly being disappointed by St. Louis' showing.
The Red Sox swept the Cardinals that October, bringing the organization its first World Series championship in 86 years. It did not sit so well with Freese.
"I remember the comebacker that ended it. I remember it all," Freese said. "I remember the four-game sweep. You don't expect the World Series to end in four, you really don't. But I think there are reasons why the Red Sox won in '04 in four games. This organization has talent, has character and has desire. And we equalize that. I think that's the reason why this is so special."
Two years later, Freese would be drafted by the Padres. A trade brought him back home the next year, and, though he has already won a World Series championship with the Cardinals, this October presents another career highlight for the third baseman.
"I grew up wanting to play at Fenway," said Freese. "I wanted to be a Cardinal, obviously, but to have a chance to play at Fenway is a dream come true. And to do this in a World Series is truly special. The historic nature of both these teams doesn't go unnoticed. It's incredible what the cities that surround both these stadiums bring.
"The crowd is going to be on top of you. They're going to be loud. They're going to hate us. But there's nothing better than that. You go BoSox-Cardinals World Series, arguably nothing better."
Freese isn't the only Cardinals player to wander inside the 101-year-old ballpark for the first time this week. The list of active players who have played at the ballpark sits only at six -- Yadier Molina, Randy Choate, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, John Axford and Edward Mujica.
A handful of these first-time visitors roamed the Fenway Park stands before Tuesday's workout. When Pete Kozma and Shane Robinson arrived on Wednesday, both stopped near home plate to snap pictures of the storied structure.
"So much nostalgia and history here," said manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals' catcher during the '04 Series. "They all went out early, just like a bunch of kids. As soon as they got off the bus or the cab, they went straight out in the stands and looked around. It's a great experience. The atmosphere here, we know it's going to be wild and loud, and that's exactly what we want. That's exactly what you would hope for in a World Series setting. I know everybody is looking forward to it."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.