The swing is poetry; his swing is perfect. I miss the swing; but we miss Freddie more.
“Give me a second,” Freddie Freeman tells reporters. “I don’t even know if I can get through this.”
On June 24, Freeman, the Dodgers’ All-Star first baseman, returns to Atlanta, where he played 12 years before moving this season to L.A. At a press conference, he chokes back tears and clutches a white towel.
I watch that press conference on my laptop with my 10-year-old daughter, Rose. She has followed Freeman through hundreds of big hits and signature hugs, for opponents and teammates alike. And on one sun-kissed September afternoon against the Red Sox, he even sent Rose a wave, on her birthday.
Freeman, it’s said, is the type who wears his heart on his sleeve. Around his neck, he wears a chain with a cross that unscrews to reveal a strand of hair from his late mother, Rosemary. She died of skin cancer when Freeman was 10.
“She’s with me everywhere I go,” he has said before. But now, back in Atlanta, he can’t get a word out.
I hold Rose’s hand. She squeezes. We root for Freeman to find the right word, any word.