Freddie Freeman responds to electric Dodger Stadium ovation after double
By Adam Weinrib
When Freddie Freeman waited all offseason for the Dodgers, he probably dreamt of nights like this.
Nights where the Dodgers’ fate would be in doubt, sure, but only to the nonbelievers. Nights where, let’s be honest, it would’ve been nice to have not blown a 3-0 lead to a last-place team, but where help was still on the way.
Nights where the ballpark was just waiting to shake, but was left vibrating until Freeman himself provided the first hint of a release.
With the game tied at three, Freeman led off the eighth inning with a double off left-hander Justin Wilson, and when he reached second base was treated to an impromptu celebration of his entire existence.
He looked to one side and saw a thick Dodgers crowd pulsating, anticipating the breaking of a tie. He looked to the other and saw his family, rolling 100 deep for the occasion. He was officially home.
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman described chills after his eighth-inning double.
Freeman’s cathartic smack and celebration did open the floodgates, almost as if Dodger fans had willed the explosion.
After an abrupt pitching change, Trea Turner singled him home, as Freeman scampered back into the clubhouse to collect his thoughts with a 4-3 lead. A walk, a Will Smith three-run shot, several more control issues and a Mookie Betts smack followed, and by the end of the inning, the only thing left on anyone’s mind was the postgame reaction and celebration.
In a matter of minutes, the Dodgers had turned a nailbiter into a laugher, something fans appeared to almost anticipate as they gave Freeman his moment.
On the field after the win, Freeman gushed about the chills he felt when Dodger Stadium erupted as one and confirmed he made the right choice this offseason by getting back in touch with his California roots.
Thursday night in a home opener against a zombified Reds team owned by a megalomaniac will not be Freeman’s peak in Los Angeles.
It did, however, provide the first of many moments that will hopefully lead to him being as comfortable in Dodger Blue as he ever was leading the Braves to the promised land.
If he reaches his ultimate goal in LA, the cheers will put the initial welcome to shame.