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Freddie Freeman on finally reaching the finish line

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Freeman has seen the best and the worst of the Braves franchise. Hopefully there is another chapter but if not, he is going out on top.

World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game Six Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

As the final out of the 2021 World Series settled into his glove, Freddie Freeman tucked the ball into his back pocket before joining in the celebration. Freeman over his time in an Atlanta Braves uniform has seen the best and the worst of this franchise. He became the pillar that an entire roster rebuild was centered on and finally got to relish his moment when the team reached the finish line Tuesday night.

“I’m still numb. I don’t really have emotions,” Freeman said when asked about the feeling of winning it all. “I’m kind of trying to tell you guys things of how I feel because I don’t really feel anything yet. It’s going to hit hard soon. I don’t know when. Maybe it’s when we get to see everybody in Atlanta.”

Freeman said that winning a World Series championship is the goal every spring training, but this was a special run given the amount of hurdles they had to overcome along the way.

“You guys all come down to Spring Training in February so hopeful every single year, and year after year, it never happened,” Freeman said. “This year it was improbable. In my opinion, we lost the best player in the National League in July. The next day Ian’s going for an MRI during the All-Star break. We hit every pothole, every bump you could possibly hit this year, and somehow the car still made it onto the other side. It’s just an incredible group. What Alex did during the trade deadline, we’ve been the best team since the trade deadline, and we played like it all the way into the postseason. We just got hot, and we just carried it over.”

About that baseball from the final out, Freeman said that he plans to give it to manager Brian Snitker.

“Yeah, it’s hidden somewhere. I think I’m going to give it to Brian,” Freeman said. “He means so much to this organization. He’s put on every hat there is in this organization, and he was given the job in 2016, and we’ve delivered four division titles, a world championship, and now he has a Manager of the Year too. So it’s a pretty good stint so far as Atlanta Braves manager for him.”

This run to a World Series Championship is a story in itself, but for guys like Freeman, the story began much earlier. He reflected on being called into the office after the 2014 season and told about the plans to reset the roster. Freeman could have easily asked out and said that he didn’t want to be a part of it but he stuck with it and became the veteran leader that this young group needed.

“You could tell that when I got brought in after the ‘14 season, before we were going into ‘15, the former GM showed me their thought process and all that stuff that was going on, and it made a lot of sense,” Freeman said. “I’ve said it many times, this organization drafted me when I was 17, and then they gave me the opportunity to be in the Big Leagues at 20 years old, and they gave me the starting job the next year. They didn’t really owe me anything. I owed everything to them because they gave me the opportunity to live out a childhood dream.

“So in my mind, I wanted to do everything I possibly could to help get this team back to winning because I came up when we were winning,” Freeman added. “So what this organization has accomplished in six years, we lost 97 games in 2015, and six years later we are world champions. That’s extremely hard to do. And what this organization, the front office did to do that, it’s special. It’s a special group, what we were able to accomplish in such a short time.

Now Freeman heads into an uncertain future. If he and the Braves needed anything to spur along negotiations for a new contract, then perhaps this World Series win will do just that.

“Everyone that knows me knows how thrilled I am to put on a Braves uniform every single day, since I’ve been 17 years old,” Freeman said. “I got to put it on in the Gulf Coast League, and it was Braves. I’ve been putting on the Braves uniform for a long time. This organization means so much to me. Losing Hank this past off-season and us playing the Brewers in the first round, it kind of just was setting up for one of those special years. Being able to catch Hank’s son’s first pitch and all that in the World Series, it’s just been a special, special run that we wish Hank and Phil were all here to see this, but I know they’re up there watching. They’re so thrilled for us. This organization’s been hungry for a championship for a long time, so I’m glad we got it to him.”