Live from the ballyard: Gettin’ ready for Freddie’s MLB debut

Freddie Freeman: He's outstanding in his field. (Artistic photo by M. Bradley)

Freddie Freeman: The young man is outstanding in his field. (Artistic photo by M. Bradley)

Freddie Freeman planned to address the media before tonight’s game. Then Bobby Cox told him he was starting at first base. Then Freeman decided he had better things to do before his first major-league game, like learn the Braves’ signs. All of which tells me this guy has a bad case of misplaced priorities.

Yes, I’m kidding. But everybody’s a little giddy out here today. Both Frank Wren and John Schuerholz were behind the batting cage at 4:30 p.m., watching Freddie swing. (He has, as you’ve heard, a good swing.) He was loosing liners to all fields in batting practice, and a rope into the right-field corner prompted this from Brian McCann: “The best player in the IL [International League]!”

Since Freddie wasn’t speaking, at least until after the game, his dad hustled down to the field and did the honors.

“It’s hard to believe it,” said Fred Freeman, speaking of the reality of young Freddie about to start in the first major-league game for which he has been eligible. “It was almost yesterday that he was in high school.”

Someone noted that Freddie Freeman exited high school in that long-ago year of 2007. Right, said Fred, who added: “It was almost yesterday.”

Not much riding on Freeman’s first at-bat: Just the fate of his professional career. Given that Freeman’s (slightly) older buddy Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer on his first big-league swing, Freeman has no recourse but to hoist a four-run job — does he not? And if he doesn’t?

“We send him back,” Wren said. “We can still send him back.”

Freddie's dad. That's what I said. (M. Bradley)

Freddie's dad. That's what I said. (M. Bradley)

Yes, he was likewise kidding. But the neat part about Freeman making his long-awaited debut in the same calendar year that Heyward made his is that a season that started as hot as Georgia asphalt keeps burnin’ rubber. We’ve got a team in first place; the 24 last at-bat wins; the crusty skipper in his final voyage, and a slew of daring deeds by the most extraordinary folks …

Wren again: “We’ve had a lot of things happen, and most of them have been good. Every season you have a lot of things happen, and it’s not always this way.”

Wren said he had no input on Freeman’s insertion into the lineup. That was all Bobby Cox, who said of his thinking: “Just put him in there. And Derrek [Lee] needs a day off.”

Cox said he told Freeman he was playing before the game. “I kidded around with him.” Did that mean Freeman arrived as early as Cox, the man ahead of whom nobody arrives? “He was here early, but not that early.”

And how did Freeman take Cox’s news? “He was excited.”

What, Cox was asked, were the chances of Freeman one-upping Heyward with a first-swing grand slam? “He might. Wouldn’t shock me.”

The 2010 Atlanta Braves: In a season that has defied credulity, that’s as good a slogan as any. Nothing’s shocking anymore.

And with that, the figurative floor is again open for questions, comments and sightings of men in neon yellow shirts. (Y’all know what I’m talking about.) I’ll be here all evening, the Good Lord willin’, and we’ll see if the new man can give us another moment.

He's in the cage here, but he emerged as a free man. Get it? (M. Bradley)

He's in the cage here, but he emerged from it a free man. Get it? (Hilarity by M. Bradley)

624 comments Add your comment

Heath

September 1st, 2010
5:34 pm

On the lookout for Neon shirt guys!

Chippers Jones

September 1st, 2010
5:37 pm

Heath

September 1st, 2010
5:38 pm

I remember Marvin’s Freemen. We are ready for Freddie!

Mitchell

September 1st, 2010
5:41 pm

Don’t you mean, “the best play-er?”

The Dude

September 1st, 2010
5:41 pm

Any BP fastballs go over the fence?

Chippers Jones

September 1st, 2010
5:42 pm

Phillies 1 hitting the Dodgers 3-0! Go Dodgers! Get ‘Em Freddie!!

Smack

September 1st, 2010
5:43 pm

F-105 Thunderchief

September 1st, 2010
5:44 pm

What does Vegas say about Freddie getting a hit tonight?

Ghost of Jeff Treadway

September 1st, 2010
5:44 pm

Tonight, Turner Field turns into the boiler room!

tckr83

September 1st, 2010
5:46 pm

Ron Gant’s number… I like him already.

F-105 Thunderchief

September 1st, 2010
5:49 pm

Enter your comments here

My old Kentucky home...

September 1st, 2010
5:50 pm

Philly is playing well on their West Coast trip….hopefully the Rockies can beat them tomorrow…

F-105 Thunderchief

September 1st, 2010
5:51 pm

What if you have only one comment? My comment is that I hope Freeman gets a hit tonight and contributes to a win.

J-Smoove

September 1st, 2010
5:52 pm

I hope he can follow in Heyward’s footsteps and go deep in his first at bat. I think this kid will work his way into the everyday starting lineup by the end of the month. Good luck Freddie! GO BRAVES!!!!!

JEB

September 1st, 2010
5:55 pm

Freddi “The FREEman”

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
5:55 pm

Ron Gant’s number, and also Bob Horner’s. Horner also wore No. 11

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
5:56 pm

but can Freddie play DEFENSE?

Fred D. Fender

September 1st, 2010
5:59 pm

When Horner sucked, he played for the Swallows (Yakult, that is)

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:00 pm

so here enters the freddie named freeman
who’s as fancy as marcus and neiman
he may go 0 for 4
but the fans’ll still adore
this young feenom he man

Mr. Webster

September 1st, 2010
6:01 pm

What’s a feenom?

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:02 pm

Horner also donned number 11 when he was trying to look a bit less rotund.

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:02 pm

phe-nom-i-non

Heath

September 1st, 2010
6:03 pm

Gloria Estefan is 53 today??? Wow. I still would. And so would you, don’t lie.

Anyhoo, I can see the Rangers wanting Frenchy as a defensive replacement late in games, but as a pinch hitter? Really?

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:04 pm

the theory of the existential and non-existential basis of phenomenology. i kid you not.

Heath

September 1st, 2010
6:04 pm

That was a terrible Travolta movie, coach. Never unterstood it as a box office hit..

Brock

September 1st, 2010
6:05 pm

Mark- was that a holy cow he’s big “thats what I said” or a holy cow he’s young “thats what I said. Or both?

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

September 1st, 2010
6:05 pm

Fine piece Mark, thanks.

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
6:06 pm

“Marcus and Neiman:” Good one.

Chippers Jones

September 1st, 2010
6:06 pm

Frenchy against Lefties only late off the bench!

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
6:07 pm

Brock, it was a reference, rather oblique, to the song “Freddy’s Dead.” By the late Curtis Mayfield, featured in the film “Superfly.”

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
6:08 pm

“Freddie’s dead … that’s what I said.”

Heath

September 1st, 2010
6:09 pm

I keep thinking of the Fat Boys, “Are You Ready For Freddie?”

Heath

September 1st, 2010
6:10 pm

Or Ray Stevens, “Freddie Feelgood and His Funky Little Five Piece Band.”

JD

September 1st, 2010
6:10 pm

So we couldn’t have traded McOut for Frenchy?

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

September 1st, 2010
6:10 pm

FYI Freddie was voted best fielding first baseman in International League by managers.

jack

September 1st, 2010
6:11 pm

Phils up 5-1 in 9th; Braves need to show them we can play after their win and shove it back in their face.

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:11 pm

it was terribly obscure, but the coach got it anyway.

Heath

September 1st, 2010
6:11 pm

I wonder if they will play Right Said Fred, “I’m Too Sexy” when he comes up to bat?

Craig

September 1st, 2010
6:11 pm

#5….. same one as Albert pujols….hmmmm…does this mean we have a little Albert Pujols on our hands?!?!?haha

JD

September 1st, 2010
6:12 pm

I mean mc Out and Frenchy both start 0-2 every AB…what’s really the difference?

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:12 pm

or Fred G. Sanford who was always on the edge of going to be with Elizabeth Honey.

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
6:13 pm

Thanks, Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans. This post was known in the business as “writing the scene.”

Brock

September 1st, 2010
6:13 pm

wow, I was way off base on that one. Or maybe way out in left field as well.

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:13 pm

Mark, we should do a better job of pacing ourselves tonight. Good material to go, but we’re still what, an hour till the first balk?

Jim R

September 1st, 2010
6:14 pm

What a farm system. Talent all over. Is Glaus back tonight? Just askin’. Hope the bases are loaded when FF comes up for his first at bat. Could it be? What a season for BC. This will be one for the ages. JR.

todd grantham

September 1st, 2010
6:15 pm

apparently mr turnip didnt get the jest in which blogger asked about defense. my goodness.

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
6:15 pm

Coach Grantham is right, folks. Let’s keep our powder dry for the next few minutes.

Mark Bradley

September 1st, 2010
6:16 pm

Glaus isn’t eligible to come off the DL just yet, I don’t believe, Jim R.

Heath

September 1st, 2010
6:16 pm

Dinner break – it happens about this time every night (tip of the hat to MB)

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

September 1st, 2010
6:16 pm

Or “Setting The Picture,” a la Larry Munson.