Local News

Apex Man Passes On World Series For Major League Event At Home

Posted October 23, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— An Apex man had the chance to go to every game of the World Series, but he passed on it for a major league event of his own.

Howie Freiling could be at the World Series in New York watching batting practice and counseling big league hitters. After stints at first base for UNC and various minor league teams, he toiled in the minors as a batting coach.

Then, in September, the Mets called up Howie to help them through the end of the season and into the playoffs.

After the Mets defeated the Giants, he surprised a lot of people when he traded the fantasy for his family. His wife, Jenny, is due to deliver their first child on Nov. 15.

"Who knows, the kid could come three or four weeks early, you know, so I did not want to be in New York or somewhere else and have to catch a plane and miss the chance to be here for the birth of our first child," he says.

For better or worse, Jenny and Howie toiled through the minor leagues together. However, when two major moments in their lives competed for his time, he chose her.

"It meant a lot. It really did. It meant a lot to me," she says. "He knew there was no place else I wanted him to be than right here with me. But then, he also knew that I didn't want him to ever feel that he didn't get to explore this as far as he could."

Instead of helping Mike Piazza's swing, Freiling is making salad and attending birthing classes. Still, he says in this case, he would trade home plate for home any day.

"As soon as Jenny picked me up at the airport, I knew I made the right decision," he says.

Howie and Jenny joke that the baby will probably come late since he decided the skip the World Series. He still has no regrets.