Coming off a deflating elimination at the hands of the Washington Nationals in the 2019 National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers set their sights on adding an elite-caliber player to their roster.
After casting a wide net, the club eventually struck a trade to acquire Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox. Betts proved to be the final piece of the puzzle, helping the Dodgers end their World Series drought.
He excelled at the plate and in the field en route to Silver Slugger honors, another Gold Glove Award and a second-place finish in National League MVP voting.
Betts’ contributions on the field were noticeable to everyone who watched him this season, from his acrobatic catches in the outfield to the energy he displayed every game.
However, he also led by example with his work ethic behind the scenes. Cody Bellinger explained that Betts brought out the best in his teammates during the 2020 season, via ESPN’s Sam Alipour:
“When you watch from a distance, you realize Mookie’s a superstar talent, but watching him work is special. You can learn a lot from him. Mookie does all the little things and works his tail off to be one of the best players in the game, and he’s an unbelievable teammate as well. He makes you want to work, man. It’s very impressive.”
The impact Betts had on his Dodgers teammates was evident from the start of Spring Training. Just a few days after reporting to Camelback Ranch, he issued a motivational speech to the clubhouse, challenging everyone to go above and beyond to reach their goals this year.
Betts backed up his words with a stellar postseason. He came up big on numerous occasions, hitting an overall .296 with eight doubles, two home runs, eight RBI, 15 runs scored and six stolen bases in 18 games.
The 28-year-old was credited by Max Muncy for shifting the National League Championship Series with a shoestring catch that started a double play in Game 5.
Why Betts hugged Rays’ Adames during World Series
Betts has plenty of fans on other teams as well, including Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames. The two embraced with a hug in the middle of Game 1 of the World Series shortly after Betts stole second base.
Their relationship dates back to Adames’ MLB debut, which he detailed while voicing appreciation for the kindness Betts exemplifies.
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