LOS ANGELES — With the Braves playing the Dodgers in Games 3 and 4 of the division series in Los Angeles, Freddie Freeman will be playing his first ever road postseason games about 30 miles from the house where he grew up in Orange, Calif.
Talk about convenience. Both of his older brothers, Andrew and Philip, will be at Dodger Stadium, as well as his father Fred and stepmother Alma, and as many other family and friends as he can score tickets from teammates.
“It’s going to be fun,” Freeman said. “Hopefully we can get some wins. Obviously I’m going to want to do good for my family and friends but overall, you’ve just got to out there and try to tune it out and put some great at-bats up.” Freeman has put up his share of good at-bats whenever he’s played near home, batting .349 (15-for-43) with two home runs and six RBIs in 11 games at Dodger Stadium and .333 (4-for-12) with a double in three games at Angel Stadium.
Really, though, no game in Dodger Stadium will tell Freeman’s father as much as he learned about his son in the first two games of the division series at Turner Field. Fred Freeman cashed in on a father’s day present from Freddie and made the trip to Atlanta to see the first two games at Turner Field.
He’d been to see Freeman play in all his west coast games this season — in San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Phoenix — at his first All-Star game in New York, and even in Detroit, where Fred was born. But it was his first trip to Atlanta to see Freddie play since his rookie season in 2011 that made the biggest impression.
“All of a sudden, he’s like a star now,” his father said.
Fred couldn’t help but notice the Freeman-inspired “hug cam” on the video board at Turner Field. He marveled at 45,000-plus fans chanting “Fred-die, Fred-die” when his son came to the plate.
“It was really neat,” Fred said. “But it was kind of strange too. I couldn’t believe it.” It’s a lot to take in for a father who recalls his son as the goofy teenager who would wear pajamas to school on a whim. And Freddie doesn’t talk much about his rise to fame. His dad needed someone to mull it over with, so he said something to Braves third base coach Brian Snitker and hitting coach Greg Walker before Friday’s game.
“It’s hard to (believe), it’s like he’s a star,” Fred recalled. “And they said, ‘What do you mean? He’s our guy.’ I watch every game on TV, but until you’re there, you really don’t know what’s really going on. It was very exciting. And the crowd was unbelievable. Boy was that fun.” Freddie, who has put up an MVP-caliber season for the Braves, grew up an Angels fan, like his father and brothers. Their home was only about six miles away from Angel Stadium. Fred said he would pull for the Dodgers if they were playing somebody other than the Angels. Not anymore.
“Now it’s like ‘We’ve got to beat those bad guys,’” he said laughing.