Do the Braves have a problem when it comes to playing their players every day?

Braves: Ten over/under predictions for 2020

An interesting piece was put out this morning by Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports, discussing Freddie Freeman and the Braves infield’s persistence in playing every day. It’s a well-known fact around the baseball community that Brian Snitker‘s bunch isn’t one to receive many days off, particularly their star players. Apparently, Freddie Freeman is a big part of that.

This piece is littered with quotes regarding Freeman’s will to play every day, but it goes much further than that. The captain of the Braves is adamant that the rest of the team feel the same way. Freeman doesn’t believe in days off, which is why the entire Atlanta infield has played nearly every game.

In particular, the story points to the struggles of Dansby Swanson lately, who was scorching hot to begin the second half but has hit a wall over the last month. Outside of the organization, many people were calling for Swanson to receive a day off, which eventually happened, but it didn’t occur without Freeman giving his two cents.

“I got a call at one o’clock [in the morning] to take it easy on Dansby,” the reigning NL MVP and undeniable captain of the club recalled recently.

“And I said, ‘Oh, that’s fine, I’ll take it easy.’ So I didn’t say anything.”

But the next day in the clubhouse: “I just took his jersey down, I took his pants down, and put his little sweatshirt up. And right when he walked in, I was sitting at my locker, he just looked at me and he goes, ‘I’ve been, unfortunately, not waiting for this moment today.’

However, this kind of “no days off” mentality went on well before Freeman arrived in Atlanta. It existed under Bobby Cox when Chipper Jones, a good friend of Freddie Freeman, was the leader in the clubhouse.

“That culture is a culture that’s been in the game of baseball,” (Ron) Washington says. “It didn’t just come here. It was already here, you had the Chipper Joneses, and those guys. You know what I’m saying? It was already here.”

I’ll admit, there is an argument to be made that this mentality is wearing down the rest of the team, even if it isn’t affecting Freeman. After all, before last season — which was only 60 games long — the Braves hadn’t won a playoff series since 2001 despite being one of the perennial contenders over the last 20 years. We will never truly know how much that has to do with fatigue compared to other factors, but perhaps the Braves would be more successful in the postseason if they gave some of their stars a day off here and there throughout the season.

That’s where I draw the line, though. Some of the other things I’ve seen fans suggest regarding this piece are as nonsensical as they come. People who believe Freeman is some type of team cancer or bully for holding his teammates accountable are dead wrong. That’s crazy talk, and I’ve seen even worse than that. Some are even suggesting that this may be the reason Freeman hasn’t been re-signed, that perhaps Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t even want the 2020 NL MVP back next season.

Freeman isn’t some sort of evil dictator hovering over everybody’s shoulder in the clubhouse. He’s the captain of the team — the most well-respected member of the clubhouse, and he’s holding the rest of the team up to the standards that were laid down well before he arrived in the majors. This is the Braves way. Whether it is the most conducive way to win championships is up for debate, but nobody in this organization is perturbed with Freeman’s expectations, and everybody wants him back next season and beyond.

 

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2 thoughts on “Do the Braves have a problem when it comes to playing their players every day?”

  1. Pingback: Do the Braves have a problem when it comes to playing their players every day? - TheAtlantaStar

  2. Pingback: Atlanta Braves News: Jesse Chavez starting Tuesday, Freddie Freeman and more - Talking Chop - PCSO NEWS

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