Joe Kelly: Mookie Betts Addressing New Dodgers Teammates With Impassioned Speech Was A ‘Big Thing’ Even If At Times Awkward
Mookie Betts, 2020 Spring Training
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the start of Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent shockwaves across Major League Baseball by acquiring Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox.

Though it took some time to finalize, the two teams eventually agreed on a package that saw Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong head to Boston. L.A. additionally agreed to absorb approximately half of Price’s contract.

Betts, a four-time All-Star and the 2018 American League MVP recipient, adds another dynamic to what was already one of the most talented lineups in the sport.

While his accomplishments on the field speak for itself, Betts also figures to also make a positive impact in the clubhouse. On the first day of full-squad workouts, he delivered a motivational speech to his new Dodgers teammates.

Joe Kelly, who is familiar with Betts from their time in Boston, noted that being able to address the clubhouse was important for the newly-acquired outfielder even if it came with some awkward moments, via WEEI’s the Bradfo Sho podcast:

“For Mookie it was a big thing. Me and D.P. were looking at each other the whole time like… It was good. I mean, it was meant to go the right way, honestly. He’s not very, I don’t know how to put it. He speaks well, but then when he has to plan something and speak in front of people he wasn’t too comfortable with, I think he was getting ahead of himself. The meaning behind what he was saying was very, I think spot on, but I think the way he was saying it was kind of tough.

“It was very well accepted but if he could’ve said it a little bit nicer or articulated it a little better, I think it would’ve come off stronger. But everyone once in a while everyone was like, ugh, cringey. But we all knew his meaning behind it. … There were some curse words in short sentences. … Some people need their hand held the whole time, some need the F-you, some people need, ‘You know what , you are so good. Just believe in yourself,’ kind of statement. And Mookie went the direct path, the direct route, in front of 40 people. It was good.”

Justin Turner revealed that Betts’ message to the Dodgers was well-received. Though he has only been part of the organization for two months, Betts is already challenging his teammates.

Wanting to get the best out of them, he developed a system that required players to pay a fee every time a mistake was made during Spring Training workouts and Cactus League games.

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