Top Ad
I DIG Radio
Listen live to the best music from around the world!
I DIG Style
Learn about the latest fashion styles and more...

Freeman: Ovation in L.A. debut 'special as it gets'

Written by 
Published in Baseball
Friday, 15 April 2022 05:56

LOS ANGELES -- The baseball ricocheted off the warning track and sailed into the stands, prompting a pitching change, sending a capacity crowd into a frenzy and leaving Freddie Freeman by himself on second base, in the middle of Dodger Stadium, with his family roaring from a luxury suite and his new fans boisterously chanting his name.

Fre-ddie! Fre-ddie! Fre-ddie!

"I got goosebumps in the dugout," Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger said late Thursday night. "I really did."

It was the eighth inning of the Dodgers' home opener, the score was tied, and Freeman had launched a ground-rule double into the left-center-field gap, on a cutter that followed a slider near his head. Play stopped, but the chants continued, growing louder as a new Cincinnati Reds reliever checked into the game.

Freeman, the local product who felt spurned by the Atlanta Braves and signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Dodgers largely so his family could be present on nights like these, couldn't help but acknowledge it.

He raised his left hand to the sky, grabbed the top of his helmet with the other and patted his chest in appreciation.

"That's as special as it gets right there," Freeman said moments later, after his leadoff double ignited the six-run inning that sent the Dodgers to a 9-3 victory. "You have those feelings before, coming out on the line for the intros, but usually once the game starts those feelings go away. For the fans to be able to create a moment for me in the eighth inning is something I'll never forget."

Freeman's wife, Chelsea, handled ticket requests for the home debut and packed a suite along the third-base line with Freeman's father, grandfather, aunts, uncles and siblings. Freeman didn't know how many family members ultimately came out but said he knows it was a lot -- just like it was throughout his abbreviated spring training.

"This is what it's all about for me -- family," Freeman said. "And for them to be able to share that moment with me tonight was a special thing."

Freeman attended high school in Orange, California, about 30 miles south of Dodger Stadium, before the Braves drafted him in the second round of the 2007 draft. As his career progressed and he established himself among the greatest hitters in the sport, Freeman was mostly reviled in the Dodgers' home ballpark. He batted .296/.353/.512 in 33 regular-season games as a visitor there and continually terrorized the Dodgers in the postseason, batting .308 over the course of four separate meetings -- including the 2021 National League Championship Series, which the Braves won while on their way to a championship.

The ensuing offseason was as stressful as it was uncertain. A 99-day lockout prevented teams from engaging with players. Before it and after it, Freeman claimed, the Braves checked in only twice, both times informally, though Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos disputes that accounting.

When the Braves traded for his first-base replacement, Matt Olson, Freeman described being "blindsided." When Anthopoulos shed tears in the wake of it, Freeman dismissed them. He's here now, in a new place that in some ways feels familiar, doing his best to move forward.

Thursday was a big step.

"It's definitely been nice," Freeman said. "The last month has been pretty special, from the first game at [the team's spring training complex] to tonight, they've been welcoming me with open arms.

"First game at Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers, I don't think it could've gone much better than that."

Read 28 times


Source: Miami set to sign ex-MLS MVP Pozuelo

Source: Miami set to sign ex-MLS MVP Pozuelo

Inter Miami CF is finalizing a deal to acquire Toronto FC midfielder and former MLS MVP Alejandro Po...

Liverpool cult hero Origi completes Milan move

Liverpool cult hero Origi completes Milan move

AC Milan have completed the signing of former Liverpool striker Divock Origi on a free transfer, the...

Malacia joins United, first signing of Ten Hag era

Malacia joins United, first signing of Ten Hag era

Manchester United have completed the signing of Netherlands left-back Tyrell Malacia, it was announc...


Spurs claim ex-Thunder big Roby off waivers

Spurs claim ex-Thunder big Roby off waivers

The San Antonio Spurs have claimed forward Isaiah Roby off waivers, the team announced on Tuesday.Ro...

Hardy, 34, excited to help get Jazz back on track

Hardy, 34, excited to help get Jazz back on track

SALT LAKE CITY -- Will Hardy knew some of the inner workings of the Utah Jazz before being named the...


Bogaerts back in Red Sox lineup after leg injury

Bogaerts back in Red Sox lineup after leg injury

After sitting out Monday while healing from a left thigh injury that required seven stitches, Boston...

Twins' Archer dealing with ailing hip, lands on IL

Twins' Archer dealing with ailing hip, lands on IL

The Minnesota Twins on Tuesday placed right-hander Chris Archer on the 15-day injured list with left...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation

About Us

I Dig® is a leading global brand that makes it more enjoyable to surf the internet, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information.  Today I Dig® attracts millions of users every month.


Phone: (800) 737. 6040
Fax: (800) 825 5558
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.