Monday night in LA was truly magical for Freddie Freeman and the Dodgers. Freeman hit a home run in his first at-bat and it felt like poetic justice for Freeman, who despite saying all the right things about Atlanta "always being his home" and honoring his previous team, certainly felt spurned by a team who did not tell him they were trading for Matt Olson in the offseason. It was a glorious home run. Dodgers announcer Joe Davis exclaiming, "how do you like me now?" as Freeman rounded the bases was certainly pointed. The Dodgers ended up winning the game 7-4.
A sixth year. That was (according to multiple sources) the linchpin that would have made Freeman stay in Atlanta. The Braves were unwilling to offer that extra year to their franchise player. The Braves were unwilling to give Freeman the same patience and trust he gave them in 2014 when he signed a contract with a rebuilding Braves franchise, which went 67-95 in 2015. Freeman stayed in Atlanta knowing that the Braves would need a few years to become competitive again. At the end of his contract, the Braves were unwilling to give Freeman that same regard, despite Freeman leading them to a World Series championship title.
The narrative that Freeman's agent messed up the negotiations may have some truth to it, but it also just appears to be the scapegoat for both Braves fans and Dodger fans who want an easy reason to bury the pain. Understandable, but reductive. The Braves saw their chance to get better in Matt Olson, and for better or worse, they gave the shine to their franchise player in Freeman by not giving him the extra year. They also did not tell Freeman they were trading for Olson. Freeman found out the way the rest of us did. The Braves made a baseball decision. It was a business decision. It was probably the right decision. This offered no comfort to the Freemans, though.
Salt and Bitterness
Instead of blaming the Braves front office or Freeman's agent, it's come down to blaming Freddie Freeman himself, or his wife Chelsea Freeman. If you're reading this thinking this is just the slant coming from a writer who is a Dodgers fan—this tweet is from an Atlanta Braves beat writer.
When beat writers are showing bitterness by quibbling over the semantics of Freeman wanting to play near home, the whole topic has officially jumped the shark.
After everything that happened with the fallout with the Braves, last night had to be therapeutic for Freddie Freeman and his family. As for Braves fans, well no group is a monolith. Many Braves fans are happy for Freeman and miss him, but they're happy with the acquisition of Matt Olson. For the other Braves fans who feel like Freeman sold out or had some other nefarious reasons for leaving Atlanta—I hope that home run against your team stung and I hope you know you didn't deserve Freddie Freeman. As for the Dodgers, they've got to feel good about their choice in signing Freeman to six years.