Dodgers News: Mookie Betts Has Need For In-Game Distractions

When the Los Angeles Dodgers completed their trade with the Boston Red Sox last year, Mookie Betts was viewed as the difference-maker in what could have been his only season with the team.

As MLB was thrust into a shutdown due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Opening Day of the 2020 season was delayed until July. On the eve of the season starting, the Dodgers announced the signing of Betts to a record-setting contract extension.

His first year with the team was nothing short of successful as the Dodgers ended the franchise’s World Series drought. Betts of course factored heavily into their postseason run, providing several highlights along the way.

While Betts certainly was engaged, there were moments that he sought a mental reprieve, via Sam Schube of GQ Magazine:

The Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts managed to spend the high-drama moments of last fall’s World Series in conversation with his girlfriend, Brianna Hammonds, who was seated in the right field stands. … When the team’s then first base coach, George Lombard, caught sight of this and suggested that maybe he focus a bit more on the game, Betts was reassuring: “I told him, ‘Don’t worry. I got it. That’s why I’m here.’” …

“Sure enough,” Lombard remembers, “right in the middle of these conversations, he’s making these highlight plays.”

Although Betts’ conversation with his then-girlfriend struck former Dodgers first base coach George Lombard as curious, it was a common occurrence and something he believes is necessary to perform at optimum level:

“It’s impossible to lock in for four hours, three and a half hours, however long our game is,” he says. “The more I can let my mind wander, the more I can bring it back and focus [on] each pitch, each play, each inning. If you tell me to lock in the whole time, then I’m going to be awful. I just can’t do it.”

“In Double A, man, we would be freestyling!” he says. “But when the pitch was thrown, we would focus.” In the majors, rapping gave way to garden-variety watercooler talk. “We play video games, so we talk about video games. We talk about bowling. We talk about girls,” he says. “We talk about anything.” Including, occasionally, baseball: “We may say something about baseball, like ‘I got this guy. You got that guy.’ But that’s pretty much it. For me, it’s just kind of overkill to watch the game and talk about it at the same time.”

Above all else, the revelation in GQ’s profile adds another interesting wrinkle to the type of person Betts is. Furthermore, there have never been any criticisms of Betts being absent with teammates or during a game.

Betts launches AAU basketball team

Along with being a fierce competitor on the field, Betts is regarded as being overly generous. The latest example of that is his creation of an AAU basketball team in Tennessee.

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