Dodgers' first baseman Freddie Freeman got emotional earlier Friday during a pre-game press conference before his highly anticipated return to Atlanta.
While speaking with reporters about what it feels like to be playing against the same organization he played on for 12 years, Freeman could barely get his answer out.
"I was doing pretty good about an hour ago. I still love the Braves organization with all my heart. That will never change," a teary-eyed Freeman told reporters, Friday. Freeman had to exit the press conference room to collect himself before speaking to reporters.
"For me, that World Series ring is more than a ring," Freeman said about receiving his 2021 World Series ring on Friday. It's all the sacrifices, the 14-hour bus rides in the minor leagues, the grind every single year."
A franchise stallworth for over a decade, Freeman was called up to the Braves in 2010, making five All-Star appearances, an NL MVP award and a World Series ring during his 12 seasons in Atlanta.
During the 2021 offseason, Freeman was a free agent for the first time. Despite wanting to stay on the Braves, the two parties couldn't come to a middle ground on his contract. Instead of resigning Freeman, they traded for Matt Olson thus closing the door on his time with the franchise. Freeman went on to sign a six-year contract worth $162 million with his hometown team the Dodgers.
With the Braves being criticized by some in the baseball community for their lack of grace when parting ways with their star, Freeman said he's found closure with the memories he made with the organization.
"I have no regrets and I'm not looking for closure," Freeman said, (h/t The Athletic. "There's nothing to close for me here. Why would I close it? It's such a special time, the 15 years I spent here."
Freeman's name is forever etched in the Braves record book, ranking top 10 in games (1,565), hits (1,704), doubles (367), home runs (271), total bases (2,934), on-base percentage (.384), slugging percentage (.509), OPS (.893), and WAR (43.1), among other things. Outside of Hank Aaron and possibly Chipper Jones, Freeman is one of the beloved players in Braves history. is quite simply one of the greatest Braves ever.
After losing two of the three games they played in Los Angeles in April, the Braves are looking for a little get-back as they play the first of a three-game weekend series against the Dodgers.
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