Once it became evident re-signing with the Atlanta Braves was no longer an option, Freddie Freeman set his sights on returning home and wound up joining the Los Angeles Dodgers on a six-year contract.
“I have a 67-year-old dad and I have an 86-year-old grandfather that’s now going to be able to watch me play every single day,” Freeman said during an introductory press conference at Camelback Ranch.
“That was one of the leading factors. Just talking with Andrew (Friedman) and Doc (Dave Roberts) before the lockout, and getting to talk to them a little bit more once the process went on after it was lifted, how much family means to them is obviously a huge factor in my decision.
“Being home and getting to play in front of my family is what made me decide to be a Dodger.”
Now in his first season with the Dodgers, Freeman is giving back to El Modena High School, his alma mater in Orange County. He pledged $500,000 to build a new baseball clubhouse that will include a locker room, team meeting area, coach’s office and extended batting cages in the 1,440 square foot space.
Freeman still practices at El Modena High School during the offseason and is hopeful the new amenities will help not only the baseball team but students who may be drawn to the sport as well, via Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider:
“My dad and I spent a lot of hours at that field,” Freeman said. “(We’re fortunate) to be in a position and have the resources to help build something where those kids can have a great four years.
“Maybe you’re an incoming freshman and you haven’t really played baseball your whole life. And you see what cool facility they have over there — maybe that piques a kid’s interest. And when you pique a kid’s interest, next thing you know they’re there at the school for a couple more hours. And then next thing you know they fall in love with it. You spend a couple more hours and then you have a building where you can potentially do your homework with your classmates and your teammates. I don’t know if there’s more of a win-win situation where you build something for kids to be able to hang out together and potentially do schoolwork as well.”
The $1.1 million projected is expected to be completed in Summer 2023.
“Mr. Freeman’s pledge to donate $500,000 is the most generous contribution the district has received from a private donor. We appreciate his support of our students and his alma mater, El Modena High School,” Deputy Superintendent/CBO David A. Rivera said.
“We are very proud of the wonderful example he is to our community and young people, and the kind of individual we hope to nurture in Orange Unified.”
Freeman, Turner contending as MLB hits leaders
Freeman has 156 hits this season, which is one ahead of Trea Turner for the MLB lead. Turner and Freeman are in position to become the sixth set of teammates to finish first and second in total hits, which last was accomplished by Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Boone for the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
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