On days of great joy, pomp, and circumstance, sometimes it’s the impulse of the wronged to nitpick. That goes double for the great citizens of Atlanta on the occasion of Freddie Freeman’s first Dodgers-Braves game wearing blue.
Schedule quirks delivered us this matchup early, in just the season’s second week and on LA’s turf. And there was so much to get out of the way that it nearly became overwhelming.
This wasn’t just Freeman’s first game against Atlanta since the franchise’s braintrust drew a hard line on the length of his potential contract, then immediately pivoted to both acquiring Matt Olson and giving him extra years of security, beyond what their incumbent had even dreamed of.
This was also his first opportunity to see his old teammates in an official capacity since the World Series. This was his son’s first chance to reunite with his old friends, still likely processing the major life change. This was Kenley Jansen’s return to LA, for goodness sakes!
In the overwhelming ceremonial mess, it was easy to miss MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, who saved one of his pettiest Atlantan takes for the moment.
Ease up on the “Californian Freddie Freeman is Coming Home” narrative. Los Angeles is barely close to “home”! It’s about three hours away … in heavy traffic, one hour if things are running smoothly!
As opposed to Atlanta, which is … closer than an hour to Orange County, CA?
Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman’s childhood home wasn’t close enough to LA for one Braves writer’s standards
We’ll forgive this take only once on a highly emotional day, but this is so beyond petty.
The impetus for the take wasn’t even related to Freeman’s childhood or a comment he made. It was all triggered by Freeman revealing he bought a home in Studio City for his family after making the jump to Los Angeles a month ago, leading Bowman seamlessly into his pre-prepared, “And, by the way, he’s not from LA” monologue.
But sure. Let’s say that homespun narrative is a stretch. You’re right. It doesn’t really matter, of course, because it’s all just a coping mechanism for Freeman after watching the only MLB home he’s ever known preemptively move on and blindside him while he believed he was still negotiating.
Five years for a face of a franchise and World Champion, but not six. Got it. Loud and clear. “Coming home” doesn’t sound like such a bad front-facing message after all. Especially because there are tangible benefits to playing home games in California, like Freeman’s beloved grandfather being able to attend as many games as he wants after over a decade of watching from afar.
He’ll make the very arduous one-or-two-or-three-hour drive to watch magic moments like this:
What a homecoming for Freeman, who smacked that dinger all the way to Orange County.
Sorry, Atlanta. He wanted to stay. He really did. But sometimes you have to go (a few hours) from home.