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Dodgers' Freddie Freeman Breaks Down During Emotional Presser in Return to Atlanta

Erin WalshJune 24, 2022

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers star Freddie Freeman is making his highly anticipated return to Atlanta on Friday when the Blue Crew take on the Braves at Truist Park, and the first baseman was emotional while speaking with reporters ahead of first pitch.

Freeman was fighting back tears at the podium while speaking about how it feels to be back where his career began.

Kelly Crull @Kelly_Crull

Freddie Freeman fighting back tears &amp; trying to get through his this β€œbeing back” press conference. Grab your tissues. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Braves?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Braves</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BravesOnBally?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BravesOnBally</a> <a href="https://t.co/EryQ5BPkXY">pic.twitter.com/EryQ5BPkXY</a>

Juan Toribio @juanctoribio

Freddie Freeman said he walked into the building today and saw 14 Braves Freeman jerseys. Then started crying again. β€œI never took that for granted,” he said.

Freeman also received a standing ovation from the crowd at Truist Park when he took the field to receive his World Series ring ahead of Friday's game:

Bally Sports: Braves @BravesOnBally

Just listen to this Atlanta reception for <a href="https://twitter.com/FreddieFreeman5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FreddieFreeman5</a> πŸ”Š <a href="https://t.co/zE21hqZphx">pic.twitter.com/zE21hqZphx</a>

Bally Sports: Braves @BravesOnBally

𝐍𝐨. πŸ“ 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐒𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐑𝐒𝐬 𝐖𝐨𝐫π₯𝐝 π’πžπ«π’πžπ¬ 𝐫𝐒𝐧𝐠 πŸ™ <a href="https://t.co/Wy1bmRJB9t">pic.twitter.com/Wy1bmRJB9t</a>

Freeman spent the first 12 years of his career with the Braves, making his debut for the franchise in 2010. The 32-year-old made a significant impact with the organization, hitting .295/.384/.508 with 271 home runs and 941 RBI in 1,565 games.

The first baseman was a five-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove winner in 2018 with the Braves. In addition, he was named National League MVP in 2020 and helped the franchise win the World Series in 2021.

The California native became a free agent last year, and he and the Braves were far apart in contract negotiations. Before Freeman signed with the Dodgers, Atlanta replaced him at first base with Matt Olson after a trade with the Oakland Athletics.

Freeman had been vocal about wanting to remain with the Braves over the course of the 2021 season, so it's not necessarily surprising that he shed some tears in his return on Friday.

Freeman said in September:

β€œI’ve been in this organization for 15 years, nearly half of my life, and it means everything to me. I am an Atlanta Brave. I love this organization. I don’t know anything else.

β€œThe grass isn’t always greener on the other side, you know, and the grass is pretty green here. I know there is a business side to everything, but I really do hope we can work it out where I’m staying here. It’s weird it’s even gone down to this. But there’s nowhere else I want to go.

β€œIt would mean the world to me to spend my entire career here.”

Freeman signed a six-year, $162 million deal with the Dodgers in March, and he told reporters Friday that he doesn't have any remorse about no longer being a Brave.

"I have no regrets and I’m not looking for closure," Freeman said. "There’s nothing for me to close here. Why would I close such a special time?"

Freeman is in the midst of an impressive season with the Dodgers, hitting .303/.386/.494 with eight home runs and 45 RBI in 68 games. He also has six stolen bases.

While Friday will surely be an emotional evening for Freeman, he'll be focused on helping the Dodgers extending their NL West lead. L.A. currently owns a 43-25 record, one game ahead of the second-place San Diego Padres.

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