Amid last night’s loss to the Nationals, there were some theatrics to begin the game. In the bottom half of the first inning, Washington held nothing back and threw at Freddie Freeman not once but two times, leading to the ejection of Sean Nolin after just eight pitches. If you missed it last night, here is how it went down.
Sean Nolin attempts to hit Freddie Freeman his first at bat and misses, hits him the arm on his second attempt and immediately gets thrown out of the game. pic.twitter.com/01ygAbkEGJ
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) September 8, 2021
Now, this happening isn’t all that surprising after what occurred in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game in which Juan Soto was hit with a fastball by Will Smith. Had it been anybody else that hit Soto, this likely would not have warranted a retaliation, but Soto and Smith have had several edgy encounters, leading the Nationals to believe it was intentional.
Will Smith and Juan Soto have an ongoing beef of sorts. Then he hits him. Give him this one. He doesn't get another one, though. pic.twitter.com/tcHnm0cDy0
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) September 8, 2021
I’m not sure whether or not Smith intentionally nailed Soto. It’s hard for me to imagine a closer that has had such a difficult time shutting the door like Smith was purposely hitting a player in a three-run ball game. But regardless, Smith’s reaction after he hit Soto didn’t do him or the Braves any favors, and we’re really just lucky all parties got out of it without any injuries.
However, a key piece to this story occurred after Freeman was hit. Once the inning ended, Freeman went to hug Soto and discussed what happened. He then also went to the Nationals dugout to talk to manager Davey Martinez.
Freddie is a man of the people pic.twitter.com/SSeQ7Ke6pp
— SportsTalkATL Chase (@IrleChase) September 9, 2021
What did he say to those two, you might ask? Here’s what Freeman told the media after the game.
"I completely understand. It's the game of baseball. I just didn't like the fact that it was two times. You can't do two."
– Freddie Freeman on the first-inning drama pic.twitter.com/ldmtY9ZTla
— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) September 9, 2021
There’s a lot to unwrap in this video, but essentially, Freeman expressed to both Soto and Martinez that Will Smith told the team that he did not hit Soto on purpose. He also said that he understands why the Nationals retaliated like they did — this is baseball. However, he was a bit perturbed by the fact that they threw two pitches at him after missing behind his head with the first pitch.
It really is incredible how well Freddie Freeman represents this organization. It’s like the man can do no wrong. This is a situation that easily could have gotten out of hand, which is exactly what the Braves don’t need as they try to lock up the NL East. But because of the class in which Freeman handled the situation, all of the theatrics are likely behind us, and the Braves can focus on the task at hand.