ST. LOUIS — David Freese can relax, take a deep breath and most importantly, pack his bags for Kansas City.
It was announced late Thursday afternoon that the Cardinals third baseman won the vote for the final All-Star spot in the National League and will be added to the roster for Tuesday’s game at Kauffman Stadium.
Freese held off Nationals rookie Bryce Harper, Braves OF Michael Bourn and Diamondbacks 2B Aaron Hill, thanks to a strong Internet push from St. Louis fans that included votes at MLB.com, through text message and on Twitter.
“What a crazy process,” Freese said. “I’m happy. I’m thrilled. It’s going to be great to join the other four and go to Kansas City. Obviously thank you Cardinal Nation. What a crazy way to make an All-Star team but these are part of the rules and this is part of the process.
“Looking at Twitter and all the support, just unbelievable support from friends, family, Cardinals fans and people that probably aren’t even Cardinals fans throwing in votes. I really appreciate it.”
The first-year All-Star is certainly deserving, entering Thursday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies hitting .285 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI. He burst onto the national scene last fall, winning both the NLCS and World Series MVP.
Freese was announced as one of the five candidates for the final spot on the National League team on Sunday afternoon. He trailed Braves third baseman Chipper Jones before the future Hall of Famer was added as an injury replacement.
“I’m extremely excited and happy for him and this fan base for reaching out and doing their part because they made this happen for him,” said manager Mike Matheny. “And obviously he made it happen by putting together a solid season and everybody still remembering what October was like and how much he meant to that memory.
“You stack his numbers up and he’s deserving. I’m just excited to see him get that because I imagine that first one was going to be extra special.”
The St. Louis native becomes the fifth Cardinals player on the National League squad, joining Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, Yadier Molina and Lance Lynn. Outfielder Matt Holliday could be added as an injury replacement should Giancarlo Stanton bow out with a knee issue.
Freese found out he won the voting when Matheny pulled him into the afternoon bible study group and announced the news in front of half the team.
Voting got intense Thursday when Major League Baseball allowed Twitter hash tags for each player to count as votes. Cardinals fans flooded Twitter with #FreesePlease for four hours until the voting ended at 3 p.m. CT.
“I can’t imagine people trying to run for president, what that can be like,” Freese said. “What a crazy process, but the Cardinals organization going out of the way for me and doing everything that they did, it was a huge help.
“It’s been crazy. You expect this from this city. Cardinal Nation is crazy and they love their baseball, they love their Cardinals, it doesn’t matter what comes with it. I’m going to have fun out there, it’s going to be a fun time.”
Freese said he is most looking forward to getting one final chance to play for retired manager Tony La Russa and the rest of the 2011 Cardinals coaching staff that will be reunited in the National League dugout.
“I’m going to live it up,” Freese said. “I’m going to sit back and watch the elite get after it and then if Tony calls my name, I’ll get in the game and try to do my part.”