COLUMBIA — World Series MVP David Freese, a former student at MU, has already made it to an MU football game since winning the World Series. On Saturday, he will be back in Columbia again at the Missouri basketball game.
Freese will be at the game with St. Louis Cardinals teammates Jaime Garcia and Shelby Miller and former Cardinals Kerry Robinson and John Costello as part of the annual Cardinals Caravan tour. Broadcasters Mike Shannon and Jay Randolph will also be on hand as emcees for the event.
Cardinals players and other members of the organization will be signing autographs and meeting with fans. Only people with tickets to the noon Missouri-Texas basketball game will have access to the event at Mizzou Arena.
WHEN: 10:30 A.M. Saturday
WHERE: Mizzou Arena
Freese's story is well known by many Cardinals fans. He was offered a scholarship to play baseball at MU, but chose to quit baseball and attend the university anyway.
After one year at MU, Freese decided he wanted to play baseball again, so he left MU to play at a community college in St. Louis.
"David's a hometown guy," Shannon said. "He's really looking forward to this trip. He's been all over the place, so this will be kind of relaxing for him."
The Cardinals Caravan tour includes five caravans that make four stops each. The tour encompasses stops in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Caravan 3 will be stopping in Columbia at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The Cardinals players and alumni on the caravan will be signing autographs and meeting with fans at Mizzou Arena. Entry is only available to people with tickets to the Missouri-Texas basketball game, which starts at noon.
"Our fans are so supportive," Shannon said. "This is our chance to come to their ballpark, so to speak. This is a chance to be one-on-one with them and be personable. When there's 40-50 thousand fans at the ballpark you can't really be personable."
Shannon, a Cardinals broadcaster and a former player who won two World Series with the team, said he hasn't been part of the caravan tour for a few years. He said he wanted to be a part of this one because, "its kind of special."
Shannon was thrilled with the support that Cardinals fans throughout the state showed during the team's improbable championship run. He is excited that his caravan is also making stops in Mexico, Mo. and Jefferson City on Friday, and in Moberly on Saturday night.
He's also excited to watch the basketball team play, and likes to see Missouri teams do well.
"I know the basketball team is off to a great start," Shannon said. "And Gary Pinkel has done a great job with the football team over the years."
If fans in Missouri have become spoiled by their teams' success in the past year, Shannon doesn't think its a bad thing.
"We'd like to spoil them for the next 10 years," he said.