Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
When the Los Angeles Dodgers held an introductory press conference at Camelback Ranch after signing Freddie Freeman to a six-year, $162 million contract, he continuously expressed an excitement to be back home.
Although Freeman acknowledged there was surprise — even disappointment — his career with the Atlanta Braves had come to an end, the chance to play for in front of family and friends on regular basis was a driving factor in signing with the Dodgers.
Freeman got to experience some of that during the exhibition Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers otherwise began the season with a five-game road trip.
Now set to face the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night, Freeman is going to have plenty of support in attendance for the Dodgers home opener, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic
Freeman is expecting a full suite at Dodger Stadium for the home opener, where will don a uniform that still feels foreign to him.
Freeman’s first experience playing a home game with the Dodgers came March 22 for a Cactus League matchup with the Reds. Fans at Camelback Ranch showered the 2020 National League MVP with loud cheers and chanting his name.
“Usually Dodger fans aren’t chanting my name over the last 12 years, so that was nice,” Freeman said.
He was similarly received during the two games against the Angels, and more “Freddie! Freddie!” chants came during a road game against the Colorado Rockies last season.
But the first game at Dodger Stadium carries a different level of excitement each season, and for Freeman it’s an opportunity to cross off another ‘first’ with the Dodgers.
Freeman focused on moving forward
Since signing with the Dodgers last month, Freeman has twice been embroiled in a saga related to the Braves.
The first was in an icy response when asked about Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos giving a tearful interview after trading for Matt Olson. Freeman has since apologized to Anthopoulos, and said the two still have a good relationship.
More recently, Ronald Acuña Jr. implied there was friction with his former teammate and Freeman would not be missed in the Braves clubhouse. Freeman addressed that matter during an interview on MLB Network and explained he simply was tasked with upholding Braves organizational standards as a veteran player.
He declined to elaborate on Opening Day and reiterated his focus was on the path ahead.
“I’ve already done that,” Freeman answered when asked if it was important to be able to carry on with the Dodgers. “I’ve already moved forward. I’ve been here for a few weeks now, so I feel good, everything feels good, the family is getting settled, and we’re here in Denver ready to go.”
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