Before I begin, I’ll admit that I had this piece in my drafts since November last year. I spent a few weeks working on it before I took a little break at the end of the year to focus on myself. I totally forgot about it until recently. So I decided to finish it up and post it right in time for the start of the 2021 baseball season.
While I’m not a baseball expert, I have been a fan for most of my life. It’s rare to catch me on a spring, summer or fall day without having some sort of game on. Sometimes I’ll start the night by watching the Philadelphia Phillies before switching to the Los Angeles Dodgers game. No one judge me for being a fan of two teams in the same league. I blame that on my friend Kristen and Chase Utley.
Anyway, when the Dodgers acquired Mookie Betts last year I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew he was a great player but I didn’t realize how great he was. Every game I found some new reason to love him. If he wasn’t making crazy catches, he was speeding along the base path or hitting balls out of the park. Everything he did blew my mind.
I found myself reading up on Mookie and getting into what kind of person he was. I knew almost immediately he was a special kind of person and player who could help take this team not only to the world series but win it once and for all.
Here are five reasons I think Mookie Betts helped the Dodgers finally win the World Series.
1. Mookie was traded to the LA Dodgers shortly before the start of Spring Training last year and upon arriving, asked Manager Dave Roberts if he could speak to the team. He spoke for five minutes about how important it was to make the work they do count, no matter how big or small they thought it might be, so they could win the World Series. He quickly became a clubhouse leader and brought to life an accountability system, with the help of Justin Turner.
2. Every day Mookie can be found taking ground balls and staying ready with the infielders just in case the team might need him to play a middle infield position. The team hasn’t asked him to play it as he is their everyday right fielder, and they had several players that could cover the middle infield. Who knows when we will ever see Mookie playing the infield while he is a Dodger.
3. Mookie is a team player and is always trying to better his teammates to the best of his ability. Teammates have credited Mookie for helping through difficult moments throughout this season. One of the main was Austin Barnes who was struggling at the plate. Mookie not only talked to Austin, but worked with him to break out of his slump. It clearly worked as Austin excelled the rest of the season, all the way to game six of the World Series which as we all know, the Dodgers won.
4. Before Mookie played a single game with the Dodgers last year he signed an extension that would have him with the team for twelve years. While that itself is amazing, the thing that amazed me was the fact he had the team put something rather special in the contract. Every year of his contract they will automatically donate $100,000 to The Dodgers Foundation and local charities in the area of Los Angeles.
5. While the Dodgers are known for breaking the color barrier with Jackie Robinson, the team took strides with the help of Mookie. Last year on August 23rd the sports world was reacting in the shooting of Jacob Blake. It wasn’t the first act of violence caused by Police but it rocked the sports world, causing protests of games by teams and leagues canceling games. When it came to the Dodgers, the team had a meeting and Mookie told the team he was opting to protest it and not play. He told the team they could still play but he couldn’t do it. According to Clayton Kershaw, once Mookie said he was sitting out they knew they had to as well. It was one moment they could stand in solidarity with their teammate and support the equality issues that had been weighing down the country now as much as ever.