Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Braves' Freddie Freeman prayed for his life while battling COVID-19

When the Atlanta Braves begin their truncated 2020 regular season with an afternoon showdown Friday against the New York Mets, longtime Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman doesn’t know whether he’ll be on the diamond with his teammates after his recent bout with COVID-19.

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The Braves announced on July 4 that Freeman, along with teammates Will Smith, Touki Toussiant and Pete Kozma, had tested positive for the virus. Freeman revealed in a video conference call on Saturday that, at its worst, his fever reached 104.5 degrees. He also had body aches, chills, headaches and a temporary loss of smell and taste.

It was prayer that gave Freeman comfort when doubt crept in about whether he would survive the ordeal.

“I said a little prayer that night,” Freeman said on the conference call. “I’ve never been that hot before. My body was really, really hot so I said, ‘Please don’t take me.’ I wasn’t ready.”

The 30-year-old said his fever broke after a couple of days and that Saturday was his ninth consecutive day without symptoms. The day before, he had received his second negative coronavirus test, which gave him clearance to play.

Freeman said his experience has helped him to see the joy of playing baseball, even with the pressure of being ready for MLB’s opening day.

“I feel like I’m a kid in a candy store again,” ESPN quoted him as saying on Saturday. “You forget sometimes how much you love this game. I did truly miss it. I was so excited when I got to the yard.”

Just like God comforted Freeman during his challenge with COVID-19, He did the same when Freeman lost his mother to melanoma at the age of 10.

During a time in his life when he seemingly had nothing but questions, as Freeman recounted to Priority Magazine, God granted him a realization about the loss of his mother.

“My mom was in pain, and He took her to a nice place, and she’s not in pain anymore,” he said. “I finally truly believed that a couple of years later. Then I was just like, ‘I have to do this for Him because He did what’s best for my mom.’ Faith plays into it a lot.”

Freeman has been with the Atlanta Braves organization since he was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft. He made his MLB debut in September 2010 and has since made four All-Star appearances (2013, 2014, 2018, 2019), won a Gold Glove Award in 2018 and a Silver Slugger Award last year. His career batting average is .293 and last year he set career highs with 38 home runs and 121 RBIs.

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