If you’re a fan of professional sports, it’s common place for players to move around from team to team. It’s rare for a player to play for only one team their entire career like Derek Jeter did. Even Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and Payton Manning ended up playing for another team than the one that drafted them. But still today, there are some players that it just seems like they’d finish their career with the team they began with. Freddie Freeman, 2020 MVP and 2021 World Series Champion with the Atlanta Braves seemed to be one of them.
After hitting a home run in his last at bat in Game 6 of the World Series against the Houston Astros, the Atlanta Braves won their first title since 1995, and Freddie Freeman could have played his last game as a Brave. It was a contract year for him and no new contract had been settled on between he and Atlanta. But, most of the baseball world felt it was imminent he would return. After a spirited parade in downtown Atlanta, the season was officially over and the negotiations began. This is where it gets interesting.
Fast forward to June 24th, 2022 when Freddie played his first game in Atlanta since Game 5 of the 2021 World Series, a loss to Houston, except Freddie was wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform. Before the game he received his championship ring and the Atlanta crowd went wild. Then came Freeman’s first at bat and the crowd continued to cheer wildly. Freddie took of his helmet and waved to the crowd and the tears were visible in his eyes. For every plate appearance the Braves fans continued to cheer for him. After the game, in his press conference the tears really flowed. Towel to his face to wipe the tears, eyes red, and voice cracked Freeman explained that the reception he received and returning back was far more emotional than he anticipated. Then he made an interesting comment that some of you in this room know exactly what happened. Hmm.
Then Tuesday June 28th, Freddie announced he had fired his agents and for the time being he would be representing himself. No one knows for sure what exactly happened, but reading between the lines, you can start to think of possibilities. It very well could be upon returning to Atlanta and speaking with folks in the Truist Park offices where the Braves play, is it possible his agents didn’t tell the truth about the renegotiations? Apparently his representatives gave the Braves a final offer and one hour to accept or they were moving on. It’s looking like Freddie didn’t know how much hardball the agents were playing with Atlanta. So the Braves moved on and made a trade with Oakland for a new first baseman to replace Freeman. As a result Freddie signed a giant $160 million deal with the Dodgers. One he apparently wishes was still in Atlanta.
As a lifelong sports fanatic, I’ve never seen anything like this. It will be interesting to follow this narrative as more comes out.