WBC 2023: Why Freddie Freeman is playing for Team Canada

PHOENIX – When Team USA takes the field at Chase Field Monday night with a star-studded roster for the World Baseball Classic, Freddie Freeman will be in the second dugout wearing a red uniform with Canada.

The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman turned down the option of playing for the United States at this year’s WBC, choosing instead to represent the country where his late mother was born and grew up.

It is the same decision he took in 2017, when the US won the tournament. In the same way, Canada is a long shot while Team USA is the favorite to take the title, but that doesn’t matter to Freeman.

Freeman said before the WBC, “I’m not sure that’s what she wanted from me, but in my heart, I feel I should do this to honor her.” “I think she would be proud that I’m doing this. I think it’s the right step to take to honor Rosemary Freeman.”

Rosemary Freeman died of skin cancer when Freddie was just 10 years old, but he knows what Canada meant to his mother even at that young age, even though her parents had moved from Ontario. After was born and raised in Southern California.

“I was 8 years old and we were at an Angels game,” Freeman recalled. “I was eating popcorn and the Canadian national anthem comes on and I’m sitting down. [Then] It felt like someone had just ripped me apart. it felt like i was just hanging and it was my mom [who pulled me out of my seat], It’s the little things that I remember.”

Honoring his mother meant that Freeman would face a team of many familiar faces, including fellow Dodger Mookie Betts and several other major league All-Star teammates. The game takes on increased importance in the Pool C standings after Canada began its WBC schedule with a win over Great Britain and Team USA went 1-1 after losing to Mexico on Sunday. Freeman called it a difficult decision to leave Team USA, but he has no regrets.

“There is no right or wrong decision in leaving your team to play for your country,” he said. “Whatever you think would be the right decision, is the right decision.”

Those Freeman knows very well who will be in the other dugout on Monday night is Team USA manager Mark DeRosa, who lives in Atlanta, where Freeman was a star for more than a decade. The two dined together this spring, and the American captain has no plans to go easy on Freeman when their teams meet.

“Fully understand what he’s going through,” DeRosa said. “I’ve known Freddie forever…watching him become one of the best players in the game. [And] Certainly based on what we see, I won’t let Freddy beat us.”

It’s the same feeling that players like Betts or former teammate Trey Turner would have participating in the unique friend-to-rival matchups produced by the WBC. Both would love to see Freeman make it to America, but they understand the importance of honoring their mother’s legacy.

“We would love to have him here, but I know he’s [played for Canada] And he gets on with it,” Turner said. But he’s a stud, and we have to be careful with him. He’s going to be a tough batsman for us.”

Bates said: “It describes what Freddie is. And if I get on first base, yeah, we’ll have some fun. Freddie and I have that bond, but that bond with a mom is special.”

Freeman honors Rosemary in international competition no more than once every few years. He also wears the sleeve under his uniform in memory of her. Melanoma runs in his family, so it’s for his own health, too.

“I’d rather stay warm for a few hours than go through chemotherapy,” Freeman said. “I’m redhead and fair skinned, so it plays a little bit of both [honoring her and protecting myself],

Freeman also wants to shine a light on Canadian baseball. Anyone in the country who picks up a bat instead of a hockey stick knows that a diamond is unlikely to get nearly the same amount of attention as a star on ice.

Freeman said, “If everyone was healthy and played, there are a lot of really good Canadian baseball players.” “I’m happy to jump in with them.”

He’s already made a big impression on the young Canadian teammates, who typically don’t share a locker room with the former MLB MVP. Easily the biggest name on a team that includes just five current major leaguers on the roster, Freeman has many eyes on him inside the Canada clubhouse.

said Team Canada outfielder and Chicago Cubs prospect Owen Cassie. “It’s cool because a lot of 20-year-olds don’t get a chance to play for their country, so I’m so grateful for the opportunity that I can actually be around these guys and know that I can ask questions.” Can and can’t be probed for.” This.”

If Canada can pull off an upset on Monday, Freeman will undoubtedly have accomplished his goal of bringing some attention to his team. And he’ll probably take a moment to think about his mother, who passed away long before her son grew up in the game, like few others in his era did — and calls it a proud moment in his native country. Will do as a son.

Freeman said, “Everyone likes the story of my past, but I think Canadians want to win and so do we.” “She was an amazing person who was gone too soon. God needed an angel. It was unfortunate, but she was an amazing person.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button