Emotional Freddie Freeman gets rings, ovations on his way back to Atlanta

ATLANTA – Freddie Freeman went into the interview room at Trust Park on Friday afternoon and couldn’t help but feel his emotions. He took a deep breath, walked away from the cameras, turned his hand over his head, and exited. “Give me a second,” he said. “Caught.”

A few minutes later, Freeman returned and tried his best to navigate the emotionally charged interview, bringing him back to the place he still loved. With trembling speech, trembling hands, and good eyes, Freeman – a lifelong member of the Atlanta Braves, until the 17 162 million free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 17 – tried to do whatever it took. The city and those fans and that team still make sense to them.

“I’ve always told you how much I love the brave men of this city,” Freeman said. “I think I love this city and this organization, but I think you can tell me how much I love this organization and this city. Friends, if I’m honest, I don’t even know how to go this weekend. “

Just over an hour before Friday’s first pitch, Freeman spent about 20 minutes signing for young Braves fans at both ends of Trust Park. The Braves then played a video tribute on their huge center-field screen, then Freeman stepped out of the dugout and went to the pitcher’s mound to pick up his World Series ring – something he didn’t want to see until he returned. As Atlanta Visitor – From Brave Manager Brian Snyder. After a long, tear-filled hug, Freeman addressed the crowd in the stadium.

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“I know I have a different uniform,” he said at one point, “but still I love each of you.”

Freeman reunited with his former colleagues in LA just two months ago, but he hoped this weekend would spark more emotion. As his long-awaited comeback draws to a close, some people close to Freeman have suggested that the series will represent some much-needed final for a man not playing for the Braves.

Freeman denied it.

“There’s nothing for me to stop here,” he said, still holding back tears. “Why would I deny such a special time in the 15 years I’ve spent here? For me, there’s nothing to stop. The sad question is a different side of the story that I’m not going to talk about here because I think, one by one, the people I spoke to know it’s a different side. “Because if I’m involved, hey, we’ll be here longer. And that feeling can change – big time.”

Freeman, 32, first joined the Braves in 2007 as a second-round pick from high school. He emerged as a star in the long run of the team’s success, establishing himself as the face of the franchise through subsequent restructuring, then setting the tone as the franchise re-emerged. Four consecutive run division championship series championships in the 2021 World Cup.

Freeman was expected to return as a free agent, but no agreement was reached until the owners imposed a lockout on Dec. 1. Shortly after baseball resumed in March, Freeman’s agent, Casey Klose, made two offers to the Braves. Sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney that General Manager Alex Anthopoulos had a situation to take his description or leave.

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Anthopoulos then went on to trade the prospectus package at Oakland Athletics and on March 14 bought Matt Olsen to replace Freeman. Freeman signed with the Dodgers, who grew up in Orange County, and left three days later. I was shocked to see the way everything was played.

On Friday, however, Freeman turned his attention to what he had achieved before.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs in our 12 years, and while we’ve won it all and reached the top last year, that ring isn’t a ring for me,” Freeman said during his pregame news conference. “It’s all a sacrifice. The family lost all the time. All the hours. Broken wrists [in 2017], The 14-hour bus runs in the Minor League. Arrived at the hotel at 4 p.m. Grind every year. To win in the end – man. There is no better feeling in this world. “

Freeman won 940 RBIs in his 11 full seasons, including 270 home runs and the Braves in .296 / .385 / .510, the National League Most Valuable Player award in the post-Covid-19-post 2020 season. During the last wicket of the Braves World Series, Freeman batted .304 / .420 / .625, his best performance in 16 games with five home runs and 11 RBIs.

With the Freeman batting at the top of the first inning, the Braves Organizer played “We Are the Champions” and the Braves fans once again stood up and cheered. Before Freeman ran against Ian Anderson, it took time for him to settle into the batsman’s box, missing his helmet to identify the crowd and his former teammates.

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Earlier, Freeman admitted that it would be difficult to express her feelings over the weekend.

“God,” he said at one point, “it’s harder than I thought.”

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