LOS ANGELES — One of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball will be hitting in the two-hole for the National League on Tuesday night in the 2022 MLB All-Star Game, and he’ll be doing it in front of his hometown fans, all the way across the country from where his MLB career began.
Mookie Betts in Boston was a quiet superstar, an MVP and a World Series champion. In L.A., he’s still a superstar capable of winning MVP and has already won a World Series in Dodger blue. He’s also now a vocal leader of the NL’s best first-half team.
Betts almost immediately upon joining the Dodgers in 2020 held court in the clubhouse and informed his new teammates they should be playing every single day like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. As the story goes, teammates who were with him in Boston — pitchers David Price and Joe Kelly — were dumfounded. The Mookie Betts in Boston kept those types of things to himself. The Mookie Betts in L.A., however, is a vocal leader.
To hear it from Betts himself, it was always in there.
“I was just in a different place in life,” the 29-year-old said of his time in Boston. “I was young, trying to find my way, trying to get to that point. There’s no fast track, you just have to go through all the experiences to get there.”
And, no, it wasn’t due to the city of Boston or the Red Sox clubhouse or anything like that. It was just a different Betts.
“If I was still there I’d probably be a lot more outspoken,” he said. “I am older, more mature and in that stage.”
To be clear, Betts is absolutely as comfortable as he could be in Los Angeles. He’s also plenty comfortable in his own skin as a vocal leader on one of baseball’s best teams.
The Dodgers entered the All-Star break 60-30, the best record in the NL. They have a double-digit lead in the NL West and they’ll likely win it again. All along the way, there’s the mature, vocal leader, Mookie Betts, remaining a steady catalyst for the club.