The 2020 regular season has been reduced to 60 games in a best-case scenario and will be played under a slew of new health and safety protocols, yet Cody Bellinger and the Los Angeles Dodgers face the same lofty expectations you’d find under normal circumstances.
The Dodgers’ World Series drought now spans 31 years, and with a talented roster that added Mookie Betts during the offseason, they are among the favorites to reach the Fall Classic. Meanwhile, Bellinger has the challenge of meeting — or exceeding — last season’s MVP production.
However, that’s not the approach he’s taking. “I just want to focus in on myself and what I got to do in order to be good,” Bellinger said. “I’m understanding that a little more and not trying to repeat last year like everyone says.
“I’m just going to go out and be as consistent as I can, have fun with it, fine tune the things that I know make me really good and remember those and continue to that all year.”
Finding consistency may be more challenging this season than in any other year, but Bellinger already feels mentally and physically prepared. “I was blessed to have Camelback Ranch open for for the most part,” he said. “So I got great work with [Brant Brown] and our training staff up there so I feel pretty good where I’m at right now.
“I think for me it was obviously the longest offseason I ever had and I really got to have extra time to work on my swing because it’s still developing. I feel really good, it could be a blessing in the long run.”
If there is carryover from 2019 that Bellinger will look to replicate, it’s his production through the first 60 games. During that time last season, he batted .370/.456/.721 with 13 doubles, 20 home runs and 54 RBI.
Above all else, Bellinger, who will turn 25 years old on Monday, wants to make up the most of a unique season. “It’s just going to be so weird, it’s going to be fun, could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing so I just got to take it and run with it and roll with it and just take advantage of what we got,” he said.
“It’s so unique and the way we’ve been scrimmaging, we’re taking it serious but also we’re just having fun with it. It’s kind of like, for me, bringing me back to a time where it was just a game.
“Obviously it means way more than that but I think it’s just so unique and could potentially never happen again so I think our mentality is just have fun with it and get your work in in order for you to be ready for Opening Day.”
Bellinger suggests brushing teeth due to mask requirement
Bellinger makes his offseason home in Arizona, which was slow than California to implement various guidelines in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Specifically, a requirement for citizens to wear a mask when in public spaces.
“Arizona was not like that and then it became like that for about two weeks before I came to L.A.,” Bellinger said. “So I got used to it in Arizona. It’s not even a hassle for me. I guess sometimes I forget it and I got to walk back upstairs to my place to get it, but I don’t think it’s a hassle to wear a mask at all.
“If your breath stinks it sucks, but you can just brush your teeth more.”
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