This is not a Dylan Hernandez column criticizing Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Freddie Freeman because he makes far too much money to show emotion. It’s also nothing taking aim at Freeman for what happened in Atlanta a couple weeks ago.
But it’s kind of about all that.
Why? Well, it wasn’t until Freeman was officially no longer a Brave that things started to spiral a bit out of control. In his defense, though, some of it was out of his control.
Ronald Acuña calling Freeman out for being a bad teammate and Freeman having to respond to that was … complicated. That wasn’t the slugger’s fault in the moment, but perhaps the older version of himself wasn’t as peachy as he’s made out to be.
It is what it is, though. Water under the bridge. But the stakes are elevated in LA. The media is harsh. The gossip is aplenty. And Freeman, as one of the faces of this franchise, really needs to do a better job of drowning out the noise and avoiding poor optics.
Emotional in your return to Atlanta to receive your World Series ring and get honored by the crowd that loved you for 12 years? Understandable! Nothing to be ashamed of, regardless what the LA Times says.
But firing your agent immediately after the series ended? Giving wishy-washy answers to the media on the drama about how it’s “all in the past” when it’s clearly not? And now screaming at a reporter in the clubhouse? It simply has to stop.
Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman needs to better tune out the noise
According to Hernandez (subscription required), Freeman lost his cool after the slugger was asked about being snubbed from the All-Star Game a second time, which — admittedly an annoying question to deal with — was more than justified given the news.
Again, bigger media market, reporters trying to get quotes, writers looking for different angles, etc. It’s the reality of the situation. Derek Jeter handled the cutthroat New York media for two decades. Even Alex Rodriguez (outside of his own personal scandals) was able to exist there for 12 years.
Freeman is now a 13-year MLB veteran with more than enough experience to understand how his actions or words can perpetuate an unfavorable view. And again, why even worry about a pesky reporter when you’re on track to make the Hall of Fame and are currently playing for a World Series contender?
And again, this is not to say or suggest Freeman has absolutely no right to lose his cool or react to something hastily if he sees fit. He’s a fallible human being. But the Dodgers have been dragged through the news cycle the last few weeks because of him — whether it directly concerned him or was merely buzz surrounding him.
Allowing this to persist because you don’t like a question or don’t like the way a reporter is covering you seems very avoidable … not to mention rookie-esque.