Freddie Freeman won’t admit to budding rivalry with Braves

Freddie Freeman and Kenley Jansen tend to think the budding NL rivalry between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers is a tad overblown.

Freddie Freeman and Kenley Jansen have traded places this offseason, as Freeman mans first base for the Los Angeles Dodgers while Jansen occupies the closer role for the Atlanta Braves.

Prior to this season, Freeman and Jansen had been franchise cornerstones for their former clubs. While Atlanta and Los Angeles have often met in October in recent years, this duo tends to think the budding rivalry between NL contenders is a bit overstated.

“There’s no bad blood,” said Freeman to the Los Angeles Times. “There’s nothing. It’s just two organizations that respect each other that are winning organizations right now.”

Of course, a competitor wants to win every game, but Jansen feels no animus towards his former team either.

“Everyone wants to beat the Dodgers,” said Jansen. “Now I’m on the other side, of course I want to beat them, as much as I love them. That organization will be, for the rest of my life, in my heart. But now that you’re on the other side, you want to beat them.”

The question is will things heat up when these two NL contenders clash for the first time this year.

Freddie Freeman says there is no budding Braves-Dodgers rivalry

They both have a point in that their rivals lie within their division. The Dodgers’ biggest rival is the San Francisco Giants, followed by the San Diego Padres in the NL West. As for the Braves, they typically get everyone’s best effort in the NL East. Since the Braves and Dodgers will only play six times during the regular season, there is not enough fuel to fully ignite this rivalry … until October.

Of course, the Dodgers will host the Braves in a week. Los Angeles will not make its return to Atlanta until late June. While each game played between these contenders will be must-see TV, the Dodgers know their biggest games are the ones vs. the Giants and Padres. As for the Braves, they have to take care of business vs. the likes of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

While Freeman and Jansen can say all is cool for now, all it takes is for one pitcher to lose control of his fastball and we could have some fireworks. Though the Braves and the Dodgers used to play in the old NL West back in the day, it is hard to ignite a budding rivalry if you are not playing in the same division as your counterpart. As far as what may happen in October, that is a different beast.

What happens in next week’s series will say a lot about the “animosity” between these two clubs.