Clayton Kershaw was absolutely right about his Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Freddie Freeman when it comes to the Atlanta Braves.
Freeman and the Dodgers just took two of three from the Braves in their lone trip to Atlanta this season. He was an emotional mess throughout. While Freeman received his 2021 World Series ring from his former skipper Brian Snitker in front of 40,000 of his former friends, it hit him like a ton of bricks that he actually left this all behind to don the Dodger Blue. Yes, this really happened.
Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw took notice of how surreal Friday night truly was at Truist Park. Like Freeman, Kershaw was drafted out of high school by the franchise he is most closely associated with. Unlike Freeman, Kershaw did not choose to play closer to home, as the Dallas area native could be pitching for the Texas Rangers. Kershaw made the right move by staying put.
Here is what he told Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Friday night’s events.
“It was very cool (to see Freeman’s reception Friday night),” said Kershaw to Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s obviously been a big contributor for our team. And I hope we’re not second fiddle. It’s a pretty special team over here, too. I think whenever he gets comfortable over here, he’ll really enjoy it. It was a good night for him (Friday).”
Kershaw’s candid comments to Burns speak volumes, as Freeman never really wanted to leave.
Clayton Kershaw was right about Freddie Freeman: He never wanted to leave
What this really comes down to is Freeman is having so much trouble being where his feet are. One would think being back in his native Southern California and closer to his family would put a smile on his face. In most days, yes, that would probably be the case. However, he clearly has some unresolved issues about how his Atlanta departure went. He gave up on becoming a legend.
Had Kershaw signed with the Rangers and made his triumphant return to Dodger Stadium, similar emotions could have been felt. However, he would not have left the reigning World Series champions to play for a team it just beat in the NLCS the postseason prior. Imagine getting a World Series ring in the house you built, only to walk to the visitor’s dugout in total awkwardness.
Ultimately, you can never put a price on a hall-of-fame-caliber player only playing for one franchise. It is still possible for Kershaw, which will only add to his legacy in the pantheon of the baseball. Freeman could have been revered like George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., Robin Yount and many other greats. He could have been the next Chipper, but had be a Dodger.
As that old adage goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence…