The Los Angeles Dodgers played the Arizona Diamondbacks for just the second time in MLB postseason history, and aside from being National League West foes, the teams have several connections that link them together.
Torey Lovullo is in his seventh season as Diamondbacks manager after previously serving as a coach for the Boston Red Sox from 2013-2016. Lovullo’s stint in Boston coincided with Mookie Betts’ first three big league seasons, and the two remain good friends to this day.
Betts crashed Lovullo’s session with reporters to give him a hug prior to Game 1 of the NL Division Series. “I love Mookie Betts. I love him like my own child. I think we have a very unique bond that we both understand,” Lovullo said. “I cheer for him and pull for him professionally and personally.
“We stay in contact throughout the course of the year, mostly via text, and I pridefully watch him in his success. There’s just a mutual level of respect and admiration. Once we get between the white lines, though, it’s on.
“It’s all about competition and I get the front row seat to watch him compete, and I love that. But that relationship and friendship means more to me than people might even have a clue about. For him to walk in here, that’s the norm for he and I.
“I watched him grow up. I think he said something along the lines, He raised me.’ I watched him grow up. We had a lot of good conversation along the way about what it took to be a Major League player, what it took to be a consistent Major League player.
“And I think at the time when he was 21, 22 years old, had his sights on being a Hall of Fame player. That’s what he used to talk to me about. And he’s on his way.”
Torey Lovullo happy David Peralta had success with Dodgers
Lovullo also has ties to David Peralta, who he managed from 2017-22 before the veteran outfielder was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays last year.
Peralta went on to sign a one-year contract with the Dodgers and is now set to return to Chase Field to face his former team for the first time in the playoffs. “Whatever they feel would be best,” Lovullo said when asked how Diamondbacks fans will treat Peralta.
“I don’t want anybody to get booed unless it’s something that they want to do. But David’s not the type of guy who deserves to get booed in Arizona. Personally, David was a player that I gravitated to, appreciated his effort, his honesty, his ability to connect emotionally with me, the players around him, the staff.
“And then he connected with the community in an unbelievable way. I know he was a fan favorite because of the freight train and all that stuff. He’s emotional. But the things he did inside of our baseball community and inside of the Phoenix community are amazing. So they should love him up.
“And a lot like Mookie Betts, I enjoy watching David compete and go out there. Of course, we don’t want them to do well. We try to figure out how to get them out at all times. But when I’m seeing them from afar and they’re having success and they’re helping the team win, I get pretty excited for them.”
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