Freddie Freeman: BigWigs Invite Him To Lunch!


Atlanta Braves BigWigs invited Freddie Freeman to lunch at some point in the recent past, and that invite raises an important question for me.

Every MLB team has to have a leader, and the Atlanta Braves are no exception. When Chipper Jones retired, which player for the Braves would step into that leader role became one of the central questions among fans, and debates on Twitter raged (let the reader interpret how serious any debates on Twitter can actually be).

You heard opinions about the best leader for the Braves that ranged from Jason Heyward (serious demeanor) to Andrelton Simmons (longevity) to even Dan Uggla (what?). Rarely though, did I hear the name Freddie Freeman tossed around.

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No one argues that Freddie is a leader on the field and at the plate, but Freddie has trouble being serious it seems, and most sort of intrinsically feel that some degree of serious is needed for a leader.

Freddie is always joking, grinning like a stuck possum, and hugging the stuffing out of everyone. I love it, but how can that guy be a leader?

Well, I’ve always thought he could be, despite his playful demeanor! In fact, it’s that playful demeanor which I think endears Freddie to his teammates and fans, and sometimes it’s that very demeanor that can lead to a ton of trust. Make no mistake about it either, leaders need to be intelligent and thoughtful, and I think Freddie has those qualities even if we don’t always see them.

I suppose the only deficit I sense in Freddie is whether or not he’s willing to get in another players’ face and give him what for when it’s needed. A leader has to do that at times. He has to take a player aside that is acting like a moron and set him straight.

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  • Chipper was a great leader because he could be serious, playful, but never shied from a fight. I think Freddie probably has those qualities as well, even if I cannot sense it.

    MLB reporter Mark Bowman recently shared an interesting story on about how some of the Atlanta Braves’ officials, after they had traded away beloved players Jason Heyward, Evan Gattis, and Justin Upton, invited Freddie Freeman to lunch, complete with powerpoint presentation. (gulp)

    Their purpose was reportedly to assure Freeman of their desire to keep winning, and to give him assurance about his role in the long-term future of the Atlanta organization.

    According to Bowman, not only was Manager Fredi Gonzalez present at the meeting, and new President of Baseball Operations John Hart, but even Team President John Schuerholz was there. And you may not have heard this name much, but Assistant General manager John Coppolella was also there, assigned the duty of running a Power Point presentation.

    I find the whole scene a touch amusing. The idea that team officials would invite a single player to lunch to give him a Power Point presentation as assurance about the quality and viability of recent trades is a little ridiculous to me. That scene in my mind is perfect for a Saturday Night Live skit!

    Ridiculous as it may seem (to me), I had this immediate train of thought and question: Does that meeting signal to fans and to the Braves that Freddie Freeman is in fact that unofficial leader in the clubhouse for the Atlanta Braves?

    The answer would seem to be a resounding YES! There is no indication Freddie requested the meeting, although it’s possible he raised some concerns aloud that led to the invite.

    It’s not important to create intrigue about why he got the invite, but it is important to know that the Atlanta Braves players, in the midst of such retooling and rebuilding, actually have that unofficial/official leader they look to. Freeman makes perfect sense to me! He may need to grow into the role, but he’s already a pretty tall man!

    If that unofficial question of leadership wasn’t specifically raised in the lunch meeting and Power Point presentation, certainly it was a factor we should catch onto. What did come out of the meeting was that those assurances Freeman wanted seem to have been delivered. If Freeman is the new unofficial leader, it would be important for him to be acclimated and comfortable to his new surroundings.

    When Freeman was asked what he wanted to gain from the lunch meeting, Mark Bowman reports that he had the following to say…

    "I wanted to know who we got and how close [the prospects] were. Even though we traded some guys, I still want to win. I want to win now and I expect to win. That’s the culture in this clubhouse. Everybody expects this to be a rebuilding year, but John Hart said it best when he said the [front office] believes in the Braves and that’s what we are doing."

    Freddie also opined quite openly that he loves hanging around new teammates like Jonny Gomes, A.J. Pierzynski, Nick Markakis and Jason Grilli. Freeman believes those guys will fire up the locker room, and be leaders themselves. Freeman has even been hanging around quite a bit with Jonny Gomes, learning from him, absorbing. That’s what a leader does!

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    I don’ t know if Freddie Freeman will be the official/unofficial leader of this team. It would seem a little strange with veterans like Grilli, Gomes, etc., but we have to remember that even as veterans, they are new faces in a clubhouse that Freeman has made his own over several years. Young or not, playful or not, Freeman is in a position to be a definite leader, and even leaders can learn from their soldiers.

    Freeman believes (as frankly few fans do) that the Braves could surprise everyone this year. I have said I don’t expect them to win more than 75 games, but I love it when the Braves prove me wrong. If Freddie Freeman has anything to do with it, I’ll be dead wrong come October.

    Next: Atlanta Falcons: Closer Look at Vic Beasley