Catching Up With A’s First Baseman and 2010 TinCap Nate Freiman
Last month John Nolan had the tall task of talking to Oakland first baseman Nate Freiman when the A’s played the Reds in Cincinnati. Check that — the task of talking to tall first baseman Nate Freiman, who played for the TinCaps in 2010. Their conversation is below.
John Nolan: What kind of memories do you have from your 2010 season with the TinCaps?
Nate Freiman: It was a very special year for me, because it was my first full season in pro ball. I got to play in my wife’s hometown, in a beautiful stadium that had opened the year before I got there. We were the defending Midwest League champions so we took a lot of pride in that. And we made the playoffs again, which was really exciting.
JN: How did that year in Fort Wayne help prepare you for your current major league career?
NF: It was the first time I had ever played that many games. I was working to play every day. I played in about 135 out of the 140 games. Went through a lot of ups and downs, both as a team and individually. That experience taught me to cope with a long season and the even keel you need to stay on physically and mentally during the season.
JN: With the TinCaps you hit .294 in 136 games with a team-leading 14 home runs and 86 runs batted in. What was it like when you had the chance to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game at Parkview Field?
NF: That was a blast. There were a lot of players in that All-Star Game who are Major League players now, most notably Mike Trout. It was a fantastic experience getting to take part in the Home Run Derby, which I finished second in.
JN: You mentioned at the top how your wife, Amanda Blumenherst, an LPGA golfer, is from Fort Wayne. How did that shape your relationship with the city during your season there?
NF: I knew before the Draft that the Padres had a Single-A team in her hometown. We joked that it would be awesome to be drafted by the Padres and have a chance to play in Fort Wayne. When that happened, it was meant to be — surreal. I got to play in front of a lot of her extended family. She spent a lot of time out there. As a matter of fact, my host family from Fort Wayne, was at the game today. Paul and Carroll Russell were here with their grandchildren, which means a lot to me.
JN: I hear there’s a story with Amanda and the TinCaps Bad Apple Dancers.
NF: (Laughs) Yeah, she had them perform at her bridal shower. They came and did a special performance. Her mom put that together. That was a really great idea.
JN: To the present now, how has your rookie season gone with the A’s?
NF: I love it here. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks down the stretch.
JN: Finally, what message do you have for fans back in Fort Wayne?
NF: Minor League ball in Fort Wayne is the most amazing atmosphere in that stadium. And that’s because of the fans. They make that atmosphere so enjoyable, so I thank them for that.
Thanks to Nate for his time. Entering September 18, his A’s were leading the AL West by 6.5 games and tied for the second-most wins in all of baseball. In 79 games, he’s hitting .275 with 4 HR and 24 RBI. He’s remembered in Fort Wayne not only for his production as a ballplayer, but for being one of the classiest and most intelligent players the TinCaps/Wizards have ever had.