For good reason, a lot has been made about Freddie Freeman facing his former team for the first time in Dodger blue. Instead of waiting for Freeman’s decision, the Braves infamously traded for Matt Olson, leaving Freeman scrambling to find a new home. Obviously, there were no shortage of suitors, and he eventually signed a lucrative six-year contract with his hometown Dodgers, who also happen to be the Braves’ most fierce competitor in the National League.
For a little while, it looked like the rivalry could be taken to the next level. The Braves and Dodgers have competed in the last two National League Championship Series, with each side advancing to the World Series one time, but there’s never really ever been any bad blood between the two. That could have easily changed following this offseason, and after Freeman’s introductory press conference, it looked like it had. Freeman was very short when answering questions about the Braves, and in particular, Alex Anthopoulos, who never contacted the man who was the face of the franchise for the better part of a decade before acquiring Olson.
However, between that press conference and the start of the season, Freeman and Anthopoulos had a lengthy conversation about everything that went down. It was surely emotional, and it was critical that such a discussion occurred. After everything Freeman did for the Braves and coming off a World Series championship, this was a relationship that was never supposed to end sourly, and thankfully, it hasn’t.
If anybody is questioning that, just take a look at how Freeman interacted with the Braves players and media before his first series against his former team.
Freddie Freeman, on his chat today with Alex Anthopoulos and seeing his former #Braves teammates. pic.twitter.com/UOoCdr8I65
— 680 The Fan (@680TheFan) April 18, 2022
Freddie Freeman went to the #Braves clubhouse this afternoon and had about “25 hugs and about four tears.” Asked if this week will give him closure, he said he’s not looking for closure and loves everyone w/ Braves, that he spent 12 years in ATL and won a championship with them.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) April 18, 2022
It’s good to see you, old friend ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6xk9wZNVxO
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 19, 2022
The fact of the matter is this is a rivalry that’s more about the fan bases than it is the players. Sure, both sides are ultra-competitive and want nothing more than to knock the other off their pedestal, but for those hoping that the players would treat each other with anything but the utmost respect, that’s never going to happen. Whether you like it or not, and I understand why some might not, Freeman is an Atlanta Braves legend, and he will be treated like one for the rest of his life.
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