For the second straight year, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has been named to the National League All-Star team – only this time, he doesn’t have to beg for votes.
Freeman, who won the NL fan vote in 2013, was voted in the old-fashioned way this season.
“It’s different. It’s a different scenario,” Freeman said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s definitely a pretty cool thing to experience both sides of it. Hopefully I don’t get hurt in the next four days so I can go experience it and maybe get into the game.”
Freeman injured his thumb three days before the All-Star game last year and was unable to play. The Braves have three games to go before the break.
“I hope I don’t get hurt,” Freeman said. “You got to go out there and play hard. Things happen, but hopefully nothing happens. Hopefully I do get a chance to go into the All-Star game. That would be a huge, cool experience for me.”
Freeman has had a solid year – he’s hitting .299 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs – but he got off to a slow start after signing an eight-year, $135-million extension in the offseason.
“It wasn’t really (that) anything changed,” he said. “It’s just everybody’s going to go into a little funk. My funk this year was a little bit longer than last year – or anything that I’ve experienced. I couldn’t really put my finger on it. I just kept doing the same routine, kept grinding, kept working, trying to get everything back to how it was. I came out really hot in the beginning of the season, and then for like 45 games it was pretty mediocre. It was bad. And I was able to turn it around. It’s just one of those things. You can’t really let (it) into your head (and worry) about it. You just got to keep working, keep grinding, and good things will happen when you do that.”
Overall, Atlanta won nine straight games in late June and early July before losing four straight.
“Our team is a power-based team,” Freeman said. “During that nine-game streak, we were not doing that via the home run. We were getting the timely hits (and) getting the runners in scoring position. During (the) four-game losing streak, we (haven’t gotten) the big hit. Once we (do), I think a little weight will be lifted off our shoulders.”
The Braves did that Thursday to avoid a four-game sweep against the Mets. Atlanta won 3-1 – thanks in part to Freeman’s first-inning RBI double.
The Braves (50-42) close the first half of the season with a three-game series against the Cubs in Chicago.
As for All-Star weekend, Freeman discussed his “Hug for Votes” campaign as a means of getting fan votes last year. It turns out that Freeman, 24, is a big hugger. He likes awkward hugs that “spice things up” and also weird hugs because they “bring everybody closer together.”
Freeman, however, doesn’t always enjoy hugging teammate Evan Gattis.
“Evan Gattis can sweat,” Freeman said. “He’s been hitting a lot of home runs lately, so he’s been getting some hugs from me. So every time I hug him, I have to get a little towel and wipe off my hands and stuff. But I will hug anybody who hits home runs. That’s the name of the game.”