Freddie Freeman excited to play at Angel Stadium

Freddie Freeman didn’t get a suite this time.

Until he actually takes the field in Angel Stadium Friday night at the stadium where he grew up attending games as a kid, he didn’t want to jinx it.

“I’ve had several opportunities to play at Angel Stadium,” Freeman said this week. — But I couldn’t.

At least not since 2011, when Freeman played three games against the Angels in Anaheim during his rookie season with the Atlanta Braves.

In 2017, Freeman bought an entire room for his family before the Braves’ first trip back to Anaheim in six years, only to break his wrist two weeks before the start of the series, causing him to miss all three games.

This spring, after signing a contract with Dodgershe expected a family close to the full section to attend the only Freeway Series preseason game in Anaheim, but fell ill the previous day and had to stay out.

So, since he was planning an upcoming two-game streak against the Angels this weekend, he decided not to risk it.

“This time I decided not to go down that path,” he laughed, “to see if he would be jinxed.”

This is not true. Not far.

Freeman enters this weekend’s series as one of the best hitters in baseballcompleting a four-game stretch in which he made it to base safely in 16 of 18 plate appearances, hit four runs, hitting five, and raised his season average to .320, the fourth-best record in major tournaments.

“You don’t usually think that you will ever fall into one of these [stretches]because it’s so hard to hit the zone when you’re facing three or four pitchers in a game,” Freeman said. “You just try to ride it for as long as you can until it suddenly runs out.”

Freeman hopes he will last at least two more games.

“Such a swing in front of your family in a place where you grew up attending the games, I don’t think it’s going to get much better.”

—Dodgers baseman Freddie Freeman on playing at Angel Stadium

Growing up, Freeman became a default fan of the Angels.

His parents were Canadians, so when they moved to Southern California they weren’t committed to them in the big leagues.

He came of age during the franchise’s glory years, having just turned 13 when Angels win their only World Series in 2002.

During this postseason run, Freeman and his father were given tickets to the suite by a family friend for an American League Division Series game against the New York Yankees.

Freeman idolized the Angels stars of that generation.

Former Angels players gather at Angel Stadium to celebrate 20 years of their 2002 World Series title.

Former Angels players gather at Angel Stadium to celebrate 20 years of their 2002 World Series title.

(Wally Sculidge/Los Angeles Times)

Garret Anderson was his favorite player, the young Freeman, drawing inspiration from the smooth All-Star left hand swing.

Reflecting this week on his Angels fandom, Freeman listed a list of other players he looked up to, starting with Darin Erstad to David Ecksteinfrom Tim Salmon to Chon Figgins.

“They even had Brad Fullmer on the left side hitting the tanks,” Freeman recalled. “It was just fun to watch them.”

Freeman also had fond, if few, memories of playing at Angel Stadium.

When he was in high school at Orange El Modena, his team once played in a baseball stadium.

This was followed by a visit with the Braves in 2011, a trip that is considered one of Freeman’s favorite major league moments.

“That kind of swing in front of your family in a place where you grew up attending the games, I don’t think it’s going to get much better,” Freeman said.

Playing in front of family will be nothing new for Freeman, who has had his father, grandfather, aunts, uncles and other relatives at home games this season since he joined the Dodgers in the offseason.

However, as he thought about his long-awaited return to Angel Stadium this week, he couldn’t help but smile.

“When you play in the place where you always went as a child,” he said, “it’s something special.”