Freddie Freeman on Braves rebuild: ‘I knew we’d be back here’

Video Details

Freddie Freeman sits down with Kelsey Wingert to discuss Braves' rebuild and more.

INTERVIEWER: When I spoke to you in the clubhouse right after you guys clinched, you said it's been a long five years. You were here. You started your career with the Braves while they were the Braves in that winning way, and then you had to go through that rebuild. I mean, how difficult now, when you reflect back on it, were those five years?

- It was-- it was difficult. You know, I never wavered. You know, I knew we'd be back here. They kept me in the loop, and that's all I could ask for. And it was my goal to get this team back here as quick as I possibly could. And I feel like we've accomplished that goal.

It's really four losing seasons, and no one picked us this year. And now we're here, and it's a lot good. It's a pretty sweet feeling.

INTERVIEWER: I wanted to ask about that, because all year you guys have constantly had to prove yourself. It seems like there hasn't been anybody who truly bought into this team besides yourselves. After every single series it's, well, the Braves have to get through this road trip, or they have to get through this series. What's your message to those people now as you're sitting here in Dodger Stadium?

- Well, it's all-- everybody can pick who they want to pick. That's why we play this game. It's 162 games. People can look good on paper, but you've still got to play the game. We heard it all. We were picked fourth in division.

We've seen the videos of being picked 26th out of 30 teams. We've seen it all, but people can pick who they want to pick, but we're sitting here at Dodger Stadium getting ready for game one.

INTERVIEWER: You said that you didn't waver. You said you knew the Braves would be back here. Why did you know that?

- You know, when the front office made me feel comfortable. They put out a plan, and I believed that plan. And the last couple years you could see those players-- that they started to talk about who we traded for.

They were coming into spring training, and they were starting to sprinkle in the last couple of years. And once we knew that they were all going to be here, we were going to be something good. And they came here this year, and we were good.

INTERVIEWER: We know that you guys have believed in yourselves. The team, since day one of spring training, had an idea that, you know, every year this team could be something special. Was there a moment, or a game, or a series this year where you really believed like, OK, we're not just good. We're great, and we can win the division?

- Yeah. I would say mid-May. That's what I've been telling everybody. I think we lost, I think, three games in a row. And then that's where the people started coming in. Here we go, the Braves. This was-- it was good first month, you know?

But I think we bounced back, and I think we won four games in a row. I think that's when I first realized, OK, we made it through our first little speed bump, and I think we're going to be for real. Ronald was there, and Soroka had came, and I think that's when things started to turn and you started to get that little feeling in our clubhouse, that we're going to be something good.

INTERVIEWER: And now let's talk about one of your favorite topics-- that's Brian Snitker. Because since day one, you have been one of the biggest advocates for him. And I'm sure you've had to answer the question, I mean, so times-- how happy are you for him? To be on his team as he is living out his dream of managing the Atlanta Braves and winning the NL East, I mean, special has that been for you to sit there and watch him experience this and take in these moments?

- It's been amazing. It's hard to put into words. what Brian means not only to me, but everybody in that clubhouse. I've always said that I feel like he cares more about the person than the player. And when I first came up, he was our third base coach. And exactly the way he acted as a third base coach is the way he acts as a manager, and that's what we love.

When he comes walking through the clubhouse, you get a smile on your face. It's just, he cares so much about you, so it makes you want to go out there and play even harder for him. And we were able to reward him with that this year. And for him to be in this organization for 40-plus years, and now being the manager of the NL East division champs, it's pretty special.