Dodgers: Freddie Freeman Understands the Importance of Home-Field Advantage for L.A.

As you might have heard a time or two, Freddie Freeman played for a different team before he came to the Dodgers. Freeman was drafted by the Braves and spent the first 12 years of his big-league career in Atlanta.

During his time with the Braves, Freeman played against the Dodgers in the postseason four different times: in the NLDS in 2013 and 2018, and in the NLCS in 2020 and 2021. Overall, Freeman has played 11 playoff games at Dodger Stadium as a visiting player, and the Braves went 3-8 in those games.

One game, in particular, stands out in Freeman’s memory.

That home run” by Juan Uribe came in Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS. The Dodgers were trailing the Braves, 3-2, in the bottom of the eighth inning, with the Braves threatening to tie the series and send it back to Atlanta for Game 5. Yasiel Puig led off with a double, and Don Mattingly sent Uribe up to bunt Puig over to third. Uribe failed to get the bunt down, and when it got to two strikes, they took the bunt sign away and told him to swing away.

Here’s what happened next:

Listening to the crowd, it’s not hard to understand why Freeman still remembers it nine years later. It got deafening after the home run, but the crowd was already going wild even before the pitch was thrown.

Dodger fans get a lot of unwarranted criticism. The tired cliches about “arrive late and leave early” ignore the fact that even if you barred the gates the moment the game started, L.A. would still be in the top five in attendance every year. No, Dodger fans aren’t quite as intense as the fans in New York or Boston, but ask Joey Gallo and Mookie Betts and dozens of other guys, and they’ll tell you that’s not a bad thing. When the game matters, Dodger fans are there for their team.

That’s why Freddie Freeman is so excited about playing a home postseason game at Dodger Stadium, so that energy will be on his side for once. And it’s why, while it wasn’t a necessity, it’s a really nice thing that the Dodgers locked up home-field through the NLCS with their win on Sunday.

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