Despite Brave’s exit, loyalty is everything to Freddie Freeman

That got him into baseball. It made him happy with the Atlanta Braves and eventually brought Freddie Freeman back to Los Angeles.

Loyalty and home are important to Freddie Freeman.

When the Orange County native lost his mother at age 10, Freeman found a home on the El Modena High School baseball field and coach Steve Bernard.

Bernard was an important figure for Freeman and his older brother Andrew. Freeman said that Bernard was not only his coach on the field but also a lifelong mentor.

Freeman told The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya: “[Bernard] is just a caring and loving man who didn’t care about the baseball player Freddie, just the person Freddie. In my life, that’s all that interests me.”

He found a mentor in Bernard who nurtured his love of baseball. When Freeman was feeling down, Bernard brought comfort with this simple message: “This is your sanctuary. You go to this field to escape from all the things that bother you. Just go out and enjoy the game.”

Home is where the heart is for Freddie Freeman

Freeman developed a loyalty to Bernard and the game.

It could be said that Freeman’s loyalty to the game kept him happy with the Atlanta Braves for many years. But when it became clear that a free hand would take him away from his Atlanta home, it was only natural to return to his true home in Southern California with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On previous trips from Atlanta to Los Angeles, Freeman told Ardaya he would get off the plane in Southern California, close his eyes, and take a deep breath.

He knew he was home. Where he could only be Freddie, the person. Not just Freddie the baseball player.

Freeman takes the field as a Dodger for the first time Thursday night at Dodger Stadium on opening night. He will be home. In front of friends and family – including Bernard. An advantage he never had in Atlanta. An advantage that will obviously mean a lot to the baseball player. And the human.

Freddie the baseball player is at home. Freddie the person will be delighted.

And that’s it. Despite Brave’s exit, loyalty is everything to Freddie Freeman

John Verrall

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