The manner in which the 2022 season concluded has not sat well with Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Freddie Freeman, who now understands the stakes more than ever after winning a World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 2021.
Freeman, while he enjoyed the ride to 111 regular-season wins, rightfully deemed his first season in Dodger Blue a failure because LA didn't achieve its main goal of bringing home the Commissioner's Trophy. To make matters worse, the Dodgers were ousted in the NLDS by the division-rival San Diego Padres.
But that extra wrinkle doesn't exactly bother Freeman too much either based on his philosophy he detailed to the media on Tuesday ... because the Pads didn't win the Fall Classic, either.
The Padres won a five-game series, moved on to the NLCS and lost to the eventual NL champs? Good for them! San Diego also lost the NL West by 22 games. The Dodgers were objectively the better team, even if the Padres got the best of them once October rolled around.
As far as Freeman is concerned, the division is the Dodgers' until they relinquish their stranglehold. They've been crowned NL West champs nine times out of the last 10 seasons, with only the 107-win Giants besting them by a single game in 2021. The Padres' division titles over that span? Zero! Their last one was in 2006. And what do you know ... they lost in the NLDS that year, too.
Dodgers' Freddie Freeman sends message to Padres, LA fans
The Padres and their fans may have gotten one fleeting last laugh, but how about maintaining a shred of consistency before you go off the rails with trash talk?
As for Dodgers fans, Freeman's message to them oozed with accountability and motivation. He and the team are ready to take 2023 by the horns and will be fueled by their historic 111-win season that went down the tubes.
Yes, the Dodgers lost a number of key players/fan favorites, but that doesn't change the team's goal, approach or attitude. Freeman talked about the losses of Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger and how impactful they were, but that the team also welcomed a decorated veteran in JD Martinez and still boast a lineup consisting of Mookie Betts, Will Smith and Max Muncy.
There's still a significant imprint of Dodgers influence here, and though there have been changes, it's not going to affect their will to be the last team standing.