The powers that be in the land of social media have deemed today as National Hugging Day. Hopefully, your first instinct was to reach out to a friend or loved one and give them a nice, warm hug and let them know just how much you appreciate them for being a decent human being. Your second instinct should be to remember Freddie Freeman, who does this on a regular basis in his place of employment.
What a guy.
So, the point of this post is to celebrate the man who is currently the best player that the Braves have right now, and by some distance. When you think of Freddie Freeman hugging people, it normally comes after the Braves did something good on the diamond, and there's nothing more pleasant than seeing Freddie Freeman crush dingers. It's fun seeing him do it at Turner Field, but it's also fun to see him take his homers on tour across various ballparks in baseball. So, pack your bags and get your mind right because we're about to go on the 2015 Freddie Freeman Home Run Hug Cruise.
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6/1/15 vs. Arizona
This was the longest homer that Freddie hit in 2015, and it was a doozy. You don't see too many balls hit into the center field walkways on either side of Chase Field, so I'd imagine that the fans sitting in the Coors Light Strike Zone were in shock an awe that a baseball was actually coming their way. That's the good thing about The Freddie Freeman Home Run Hug Cruise -- He likes to hit these balls in new and exotic places.
5/29/15 vs. San Francisco
Freddie Freeman had a pretty nice weekend when the Hug Cruise made its way to the black-and-orange side of the Bay Area. This one, however, was the crown jewel of his weekend excursion to San Francisco. I'm going to post the scatter plot of homers that were hit at AT&T Park this past season.
See that one particular blue dot at straight-away center that's further away than the cluster of blue dots that are also at straight-away center? That belongs to Freeman. He absolutely murdered that ball, and did so in a picturesque manner. Now granted, it's hard to top a Splash Ball or Ian Desmond's valiant attempt at trying to hit the ball into the glove in the left field concourse, but Freeman definitely tried his best here.
6/13/15 vs. New York
Jacob deGrom's lovely hair (seriously, he needs to collaborate with the artist formerly known as 100s on an album) was only the second most impressive part of this video. The most impressive part was the fact that the Hug Cruise nearly made its way to the Shea Bridge of Citi Field. If it had actually landed on the bridge, there's a very good chance that it would've bounced into the dark interior of Citi Field and it'd be a mystery as to what happened to that ball. We'd have to put that ball on the back of a milk carton in hopes of retrieving it. Alas, we don't have to worry about a missing baseball thanks to Freddie Freeman, but the fact that it was even a possibility is amazing in itself.
9/25/15 vs. Miami
The video above does not include Freddie Freeman. If you want to see Freeman hitting a massive dinger in Marlins Park, click here. I just figured I'd include Nick Markakis' homer in Miami because nothing was more rare and exotic in 2015 than a Nick Markakis home run in any ballpark. Here's hoping that there's more in 2016, though.
4/17/15 and 4/18/15 vs. Toronto
The Freddie Freeman Home Run Hug Cruise required you to have a passport in 2015, and it also required you to get over your fear of heights because Freeman went to some staggering lengths during his quick jaunt north of the border. The first one nearly hit the Blue Jays' ring of honor, and the second one looked like it was going to hit the Rogers sign in the
Skydome Rogers Centre. The second homer was actually the longest dinger hit by a National League player in the Centre. Granted, you have to go down a bit on this list (there are some serious boppers on the Blue Jays and in the AL East, huh?), but it's true. The Hug Cruise sailed right through Maple Leaf Land with no issues whatsoever.
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Now that you've gotten a taste of the fun that comes from taking a trip on The Freddie Freeman Home Run Hug Cruise, hopefully you're like me and you've grown to give Freeman even further appreciation. The Braves weren't very good in 2015, and they probably won't be in 2016 either, but one thing that figures to be the same will be Freddie Freeman and his abilities on the field. He's the cornerstone of the Braves right now -- this is the case for the current dark times and hopefully it'll be the case if the Braves' current rebuilding plans actually come to fruition and the team is back in contention in the future.
There's not a lot to celebrate about the Braves major league team right now, but at least Freddie Freeman's still around, and surely that's worth hugging someone over.