Freddie Freeman spills emotions on joining Team Canada in World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic Pool C: Great Britain v Canada
World Baseball Classic Pool C: Great Britain v Canada / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The World Baseball Classic crowds have proven, time and again, that this event distills what is purest about baseball and unleashes it for two weeks every few years. The play on the field has been power-packed with momentum-turning plays, but at the end of the day, the star of this tournament has been the emotion.

From the stands to the bat-flipping sprints down the first-base line, every emotion from joy to anguish to shock have been displayed prominently enough to be observed from space.

Los Angeles Dodgers star Freddie Freeman has been right at the forefront of it, dedicating himself to playing for an unexpected team -- well, not unexpected if you actually know his story.

Freeman, raised in Southern California by two parents who were remarkably proud of their Ontario home, lost his mother to skin cancer at the age of 10. But by putting "Canada" across his chest in the World Baseball Classic, the clash between the public's knowledge of his American upbringing and the new information they're absorbing is a handy way to make sure that his mother's memory never gets forgotten.

Dodgers star Freddie Freeman: "I just hope my mom is proud."

Freeman's tearful confession in a piece aired on Monday (prior to Team USA's game against Canada) was overwhelmingly emotional, but at the heart of the matter was the first baseman's desire to make sure, as often as he can, that his mom remains unforgotten.

"I don't know if this is what she would want me to do," Freeman stated, choking back tears. "But in my heart, it's what I feel I should do. That's the reason I play. It's to honor my mom."

"Pretty much everything I do is for my mom," he continued, while opening up about his daily routine (his trademark long sleeves are also a precaution against skin cancer meant to honor her legacy).

Team Canada might not have the most vaunted roster in the Classic, but everyone, from Freeman to 19-year-old Rangers prospect Mitch Bratt, has been relentlessly dedicated to making their nation proud throughout Pool Play.

While teams like USA and Dominican Republic exorcised some demons in Monday's action and celebrated appropriately, Canada manifested plenty of tougher-to-embrace emotions in their dugout.

But that's baseball, too. We play for those who came before, even if the outcome hurts.