Freddie Freeman tears up about playing for Canada: 'I just hope my mom is proud'

Playing for Canada at the World Baseball Classic means the world to MLB superstar Freddie Freeman.

Freddie Freeman plays for Canada to honour his late mother, who passed away when he was a child. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Playing for Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic is extra special for Los Angeles Dodgers star Freddie Freeman, as it allows him to honour his late mother, Rosemary.

Freeman, born in Fountain Valley, Calf., lost his mom to skin cancer when he was just 10 years old, though he knew how much Canada meant to her even at a young age. Despite being raised in Southern California, his parents — both of whom were born in Ontario — ensured he knew the value of being a Canadian.

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So when Team USA called in 2017 asking if he was interested in joining their stacked WBC lineup, he declined and instead opted to represent the country where his mom grew up. Now, six years later, the 33-year-old is wearing red and white across his chest again, hoping it will make her proud.

"I don't know if this is what she would want me to do, but in my heart, this is what I feel I should be doing to honour her," Freeman said in an interview posted by the Dodgers.

“In my heart, honouring my mother and playing for Team Canada is the right decision for me... Even if I hit zero every single season, I think she’d still be proud of me. I just hope she’s proud of me...

"Twenty-three years, it never goes away," Freeman continued as he fought back tears. "That’s all I want. I hope she’s smiling down [on me].”

No matter the situation, Freeman always plays with a heavy heart when he steps onto a baseball field and feels those emotions even more during international competition. Playing for Team Canada is an honour he’ll remember long after his professional career ends.

The six-time All-Star, who inked a six-year deal worth $162 million with the Dodgers in 2022, also keeps multiple reminders of his mom with him each game.

“If most Dodgers fans don’t know… there’s a lot of things that go into my game that I do for remembering my mom,” Freeman explained. “I wear sleeves every game. That is for my mom because she passed away of skin cancer. Every time I put on my tight sleeves, it makes me think of her.

"I wear a cross around my neck that unscrews and has her hair inside of it. Pretty much everything I do is for my mom."

Freeman has endured somewhat of a slow start to this year’s WBC, hitting 2-for-8 with three runs scored, one RBI and a walk through two games. But as the superstar slugger has shown numerous times in the major leagues, he can carry an offence for an extended stretch.

Following a disappointing 12-1 mercy-rule loss to the Americans Monday night, Team Canada fell to a 1-1 record, entering a three-way tie for second place with Colombia and Mexico in Pool C — adding to the anticipation of Tuesday’s Canada-Colombia showdown.