The itch resurfaced sometime during his freshman year at the University of Missouri, though David Freese didn't take it all that seriously at the time.♦ Freese didn't always see the majors in his future (komu.com)
After so many years of having baseball dictate his social schedule -- or deplete it all together -- he was content to embrace life as a student. That meant attending classes and parties and sporting events as a fan. It meant shedding an identity that had been formed for him, when Freese was a standout infielder at Lafayette High School in the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood.
. . .
Freese explains now that his reasoning lay in the negativity that he felt surrounded the game. Having been defined by the sport for so long, he just lost all desire to continue.
"It's pretty simple and kind of boring," Freese said, "but I just didn't want to play anymore."
After his epiphany the following summer, Freese began his journey back by placing a call to the head coach at Meramec Community College. He asked if there was a vacant roster spot. There was. After a stop there, Freese headed to South Alabama, where he put up impressive numbers during his senior year.
"When I quit baseball out of high school, Darin had Ryan talk to me for about 45 minutes one day outside Lafayette. We hit together one day. Ryan kind of talked to me, am I making the right decision." said David Freese.♦ David Freese: Back to the game he loves (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Even Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard couldn't convince Freese to stay in the game. "I guess I didn't listen to him too much, cuz I went to Mizzou just as a student." said Freese.
However his run as a Tiger didn't last long.
Freese went to Mizzou, but declined to play ball. His friends bet him he'd go back. The Tigers' coaches called halfway through the freshman year to see if Freese had reconsidered. He replied, "No, thank you." Baseball was forgotten. Freese had found extracurricular interests in college life, not all of which were productive. He said there was a time he "just wanted to be a kid." He agreed that another term for it would be "adrift." It was a different, less-disciplined road that he wandered.
Baseball was in his rearview mirror.
"I didn't miss it," he said.