Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Freddie Freeman was in the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup for both exhibition Freeway Series games at Dodger Stadium, but Thursday night represented his true home debut with the team.
The Dodgers’ home opener drew an announced attendance of 52,995, and fans showed their appreciation for the Southern California native. With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth inning, Freeman lined a pitch into the left-center field gap for a leadoff ground-rule double.
It was his second hit of the night and one that culminated with Dodgers fans chanting “Freddie! Freddie!” during a Cincinnati Reds pitching change. Freeman took off his helmet and tipped it towards the stands while also placing a hand over his heart.
“It’s as special as it gets. You have those feelings coming out on the line, the intros, but usually once the game starts those feelings go away,” Freeman said after the Dodgers’ 9-3 win.
“The fans to be able to create a moment for me in the eighth inning is something I’ll never forget. It was a special night for me and the family.”
Freddie Freeman is probably going to like playing at Dodger Stadium a little more now. pic.twitter.com/7DfNjWGfxY
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) April 15, 2022
Freeman had a suite for family members to attend his first official home game with the Dodgers, and video captured their celebration of the double that wound up sparking a six-run inning.
“It’s just special when 50,000 people can create a moment you’ll never forget in your lifetime. To be able to look up and see my family jump up and down, with a lot of family members here — my aunts and uncles, dad, grandfather, all my kids — this is as good as it gets,” Freeman said.
“It’s really hard to put into words how it felt. I’m glad we won too.”
The treatment was similar to the warm reception the 2021 National League MVP received when playing his first game at Camelback Ranch after signing with the Dodgers. Freeman reiterated he is not accustomed to such cheers from Dodgers fans after spending 12 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, but it is a welcomed change.
“The last month has been pretty special. From my first game at Camelback Ranch to tonight, they’ve been welcoming me with open arms,” he said. “First game in Dodger Stadium as a Dodger, I don’t think it could’ve gone much better.”
Freeman: Dodgers lineup needs consistency
Although the Dodgers enter play Friday on a three-game winning streak and boast a lineup that has proven plenty capable of exploding at any moment, Freeman is hopeful the team begins to even out their scoring.
“We seem to only being doing it in like an inning or two. We would like to spread it over more innings, but you can just see what it’s capable of. Getting some runs early so Walker can settle in and do what he normally does, that was good,” he said.
“They battled back, tied the game, but we got it going in the eighth inning. Offense is there. I think you guys have been able to see it the last few games, but we would like to be more consistent over the stretch of a whole game, and not just an inning or two. Hopefully we can start that [Friday].”
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