Though he tried very hard to emphatically walk back his comments, clever sleuths and translators seem to have pieced together the elements of Ronald Acuña Jr.’s Instagram Live session which indicates that he and Freeman shared a less than cordial relationship, especially during his early years with the big club.
Late Wednesday night, summaries of the IG clip began circulating, claiming Acuña Jr. described Freeman as someone who created friction and wasn’t actively an enemy, but also didn’t do much to forge a relationship with his most electric teammate.
Acuña Jr. immediately hopped on to claim he never said the things most people believed he had, but there’s existing tape that appears to refute him.
Did Ronald Acuña Jr. have existing beef with new Dodgers star Freddie Freeman?
While the laundry list of accusations above may seem harsh, those who watched the video and speak the language have agreed it seems like Acuña Jr. will, at the very least, not miss what it meant to share a clubhouse with Freeman.
Even the IG Live interviewer confirmed the tenor of the conversation as well! It’s difficult to parse how both sides of the chat could wind up with wildly different interpretations of what was said.
Early indications are Acuña Jr. knew he overstepped and overshared, and didn’t want to create extra motivation for the Dodgers in the wake of his commentary.
To further help clarify and staunch the momentum of the denial, Jeff Schultz of The Athletic went to his Spanish-speaking colleague for a direct translation of the clip, without summarizing bullet points.
Here’s how Felipe Cárdenas interpreted Acuña Jr.’s words:
Some of what Acuña Jr. is describing feels like a classic old school/new school clash. Freeman has always served as the Braves’ de facto captain, and this interaction would lead you to believe he didn’t necessarily subscribe to the overwhelming enthusiasm his Atlanta teammates, like RAJ and Ozzie Albies, showed immediately in their wake of their respective call-ups.
If that’s the case, and Freeman spent his time in Atlanta silently (or not-so-silently) seething over their attempt to Let the Kids Play, perhaps he’ll be a better fit with the Dodgers after all. Because that enthusiasm’s not getting tamped down any time soon, nor should it be.