Freddie Freeman was born and raised in Southern California, but the 2023 World Baseball Classic represents the second time he’s played for Team Canada in the international tournament.
Although an American citizen, Freeman feels a close relationship to Canada and plays for the country as a way of honoring his parents, and in particular his late mother. Rosemary Joy Freeman was born in Toronto and passed away because of melanoma in 2000.
Freeman was 10 at the time and her death has become something he’s grown more comfortable discussing while also wanting to carry on her legacy. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star is mindful of representing his father as well.
“Most people just know about my mom, but my dad is Canadian too,” Freeman recently said. “He was born in Windsor, Ontario; my mom was born in Toronto, and she passed when I was 10. So I play for Team Canada to honor her and her memory. We went 0-3 last time, so we’ll try to do a switcheroo here and win some games this time.”
Team Canada not only went hitless during the 2017 WBC but they were outscored by 18 runs. Freeman personally was just 2-for-11 with one RBI and three strikeouts in their losses.
He and the Canadian international team begin their quest of improving on that showing Sunday, as the final team from Pool C to take the field. They face Team Great Britain, who are coming off a loss to the United States.
Freddie Freeman basking in facing Dodgers teammates, WBC environment
The 2023 WBC features an array of All-Stars, and many players from the Dodgers roster. Freeman has embraced being on the other side of the field against normal teammates, and also is looking forward to the excitement that envelopes WBC games.
“You’ve got so many Dodgers spread out,” Freeman said. “There’s so many countries represented, which is really, really cool. We don’t get to play in the Olympics because it’s during the season, so this is kind of like our little Olympics. I loved it in ’17. Spring Training is six weeks, it can be a little lull — you guys hit a little lull too — so it’s actually fun to go in there and compete at a high level to try to win ballgames.
“Most of us are just trying to get our work in and don’t get hurt, don’t do this and that. All that goes out of your mind and you just compete. That’s what’s fun. I never played winter ball, and my first game in ’17 was against the Dominican, and whoa, that was fun. You’ve got 30,000 people banging bells. It’s just a cool environment that I’m glad a lot more players are getting involved in.”
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