Rookie slugger Nate Freiman grew up near the route of the Boston Marathon, and the deadly bomb blasts that rocked the race's finish line were on his mind Monday. Under nearly any other circumstance, Freiman freely would be celebrating his first career home run, which helped the Oakland Athletics drub the Houston Astros 11-2.
But his celebration definitely was muted, Freiman told the Oakland Tribune:
"It was bittersweet," the designated hitter said. "I grew up about the halfway point of the marathon. Every Patriot's Day we used to go out there and watch the runners."
Word got to Freiman that his family was fine, but the deaths and injuries that resulted from the bombs were still with him after he had gotten a celebratory postgame pie in the face from teammate Jose Reddick.
"It was a great night here," Freiman said. "But Boston is in our prayers."
Freiman's home run, a three-run clout against left-hander Erik Bedard, gave the A's a 6-0 lead in the first inning. It was just the kind of offense the A's were hoping to get from Freiman, a 6-foot-8 Rule 5 draftee who joined the team from the Astros in the final days of spring training. Being the right-handed part of a platoon at first base with Brandon Moss, he was in the starting lineup for only the fourth time in 14 games. It's hard to make your hits count when you bat so infrequently.
But handling that is nothing when compared to what's happening in Boston, which Freiman's family says is a living "nightmare" right now. Life continues regardless, but it's never quite the same as before, even 2,600 miles away.