Schultz: Will Freddie Freeman be booed in his return? What is the plan of the Hawks?


ATLANTA — When Tom Glavine left the Braves as a free agent in 2002 after 16 years with the organization and signed with the Mets, it didn’t go well for him in Atlanta. Many fans saw him as selfish and disloyal and basically a traitor. The fact that he had already lost some fans because he was a strong voice for the players’ union during a strike several years earlier, and he had the audacity to sign with New York! – I do not help.

So it wasn’t too surprising that when Glavine made his first pitching appearance for the Mets in Atlanta in 2003, he was “pretty booed,” he recalled. “And people had some nasty things to say to the point where my wife and kids left.”

(He also didn’t do well on the field. The Braves hammered Glavine for six runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings in a 10-4 win.)


The hope here is that the reception for Freddie Freeman will be different on Friday when he returns to Atlanta for a weekend series with the Dodgers. Regardless of which side you want to blame for Freeman signing with Los Angeles as a free agent, after the Braves effectively ended negotiations by trading four prospects for his replacement, Matt Olson, it would be foolish to boo one of the players. most loyal of the franchise. history and the main person responsible for the team’s rise to World Champions last year. The “never wanted to sign here” shots are lazy and patently fake. But in sports, people often lead with their emotions.

Glavine believes Freeman “will get a positive response.” There are bound to be some boos, see the poll results, but they should be drowned out by a loud standing ovation when he steps up to the plate in the first inning on Friday night.

The organization will treat Freeman’s return as a celebration, just as it has with other players from last year’s championship team who returned in a different uniform this year, such as the Giants’ Joc Pederson on Monday night. The Braves will present Freeman with his World Series ring, and are also expected to have a video tribute from his former MVP before the game.

Just a guess, but there will be some clips of Freeman’s home runs and maybe one of him raising his arms at first base after taking a throw from Dansby Swanson to record the last out of the World Series in Houston.

Freeman homered in his first at-bat against the Braves in Los Angeles two months ago. This will be the only other series between the teams unless they meet in the postseason, in which case the Braves’ Twitter would crash.

It feels like . . . October?

If it felt like playoff atmosphere for a Monday night game in June, there’s a reason. The Braves may have turned heads and turned their season around with their recent 14-game winning streak, but this week’s seven-game streak against the Giants and Dodgers qualifies as a measuring stick. All three are projected as postseason teams, as are the Mets, who arrive in Atlanta in a few weeks. So yes, this is when a hierarchy starts to take shape.

Teams have great seasons when they get performances from unlikely sources. The Braves had one of those again in Monday’s 2-1 win over the Giants, when second baseman Orlando Arcia, who is replacing the injured Ozzie Albies, hit an RBI single in the ninth to score pinch-runner Phil Gosselin. . Orlando Arcia? Phil Gosselin? Arcia is hitting .338 with a .941 OPS. The Braves’ top three OPS currently belong to William Contreras (.987), Michael Harris (.949) and Arcia, though none of the three have enough at-bats to qualify.

MBS Might Have Grass All The Time, But Here’s Why It Won’t

By now, you know that the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field will be changed from artificial turf to grass immediately after the Falcons’ final home game of the 2025 season to prepare for the 2026 World Cup. The exact schedule is yet to be revealed. is finished, but MBS will likely need to install some sort of underground irrigation and ventilation system, as well as some sort of lighting system to replicate a greenhouse effect. The open retractable roof itself will not suffice.

But here’s the question: if all this is feasible, why can’t the stadium have natural grass all the time? Answer: You can. But it won’t happen. MBS is one of the busiest sports facilities in the world. In the last pre-COVID year of 2019, it hosted 66 ticketed events and 275 private events for a total of 341 in 365 days. That includes football and soccer games, as well as concerts, conventions, weddings, retirement parties, corporate events, and more. Wooden planks are used to cover the field before the stages and tables are set up.

The grass wouldn’t survive that. Owner Arthur Blank isn’t going to sacrifice that revenue stream or add the cost of constantly repairing and replacing the lawn. Then you will get plastic grass and you will be happy with it.

Falcons need change through trade, not draft

The NBA draft is Thursday night and the Hawks allowed impending new general manager Landry Fields, who will still answer to team president Travis Schlenk, to answer questions from the media on Monday. Fields handled it well, especially since this was his first formal news conference since he signed with the Toronto Raptors 10 years ago. He managed to really not reveal anything about the team’s plans.

But here’s a thought: The Hawks’ only route to significant improvement over last year is through the trade (or free agency), not the draft. This team is young enough and needs an NBA-proven scorer and defender, something the draft can’t guarantee. (Schlenk shared some thoughts with the athletic here.) Fields on weighing the benefits of trading versus keeping the pick (currently 16th overall): “There’s always a fine line. There are only a few times a year that you can upgrade your gear, and one of those is the draft. In this league you need talented players to win basketball games. We try not to get too caught up in positional needs. He’s still the best player available.”

Truth, fiction and something in between…

• How come no one talks about the Phillies? Their record in June (15-3) is only one game worse than the Braves’ (16-2).

• Wizards guard Bradley Beal is expected to decline his $36.4 million player option. It is “widely assumed” that he will do so in order to sign a maximum agreement with Washington, through the athletic one Josh Robbins. Okay, now that I’m covered, imagine the Hawks with a backcourt of Trae Young and Beal.

• Really. (About). has listed the odds of potential suitors if Beal doesn’t re-sign with the Wizards. Here are the top five: Celtics 3-1, Trail Blazers 4-1, Heat 5-1, Nets 6-1, Hawks 7-1, Nuggets 15-2, Lakers 8-1, Mavericks and Sixers 9-1, Knicks 10-1.

• Here are the unofficial odds that the Hawks are interested in the disgruntled (again) Kyrie Irving: nil.

(Photo: David Banks/USA Today)