5 reasons why Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts is NICE.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) The Los Angeles Dodgers are the 2020 World Series champions. One of the most historic franchises in Major League Baseball, defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games after having the best record in all of baseball during the truncated season due to the pandemic. It is also interesting that the franchise known for Jackie Robinson won the championship during a year when racial issues on a national level have reached heights not seen since arguably the Civil Rights Movement. It was an historic title for the Dodgers because of manager Dave Roberts, who became the just the second Black manager to win the World Series after Cito Gaston won back to back World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays  in 1992 and 1993. Unfortunately, All-Star Mookie Betts of the Dodgers was the only Black American playing in this year’s Fall Classic but he is the MLB’s “nicest” Black player since Ken Griffey Jr. Here are five reasons, in no particular order, why Betts deserves some love:

  1. He’s “Mookie”

Markus Lynn Betts was born October 7, 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee. His nickname “Mookie” is because “Betts’ mother Diana Benedict has a sister named Cookie. Cookie named her son partly after Benedict. So when Benedict was naming her son, she wanted to include her own name, Mookie’s father’s name and an ode to her sister. Their solution: Markus Lynn Betts, nickname Mookie.” On another separate note, hearing the baseball name “Mookie Betts” sounds like some of the great Negro League names of the past like Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearnes, and Cool Papa Bell.

  1. He’s finding his voice

Back in 2016, when Colin Kaepernick made waves by demonstrating during the national anthem. Raised by a father who served in the military, Mookie Betts decided against doing so himself and spoke out against not standing for the national anthem, pointing to the need to show respect for those in uniform. He has evolved against that illogical argument in the years since with various responses to racial issues. Like many, he showed disgust and emotion over the police murder of George Floyd. He led a Dodgers boycott of a scheduled baseball game after Jacob Blake was killed earlier this year. After once saying he would always stand for the national anthem, Betts kneeled during the national anthem during the 2020 season and mentioned that, “I wasn’t educated. That’s my fault. I need to be educated on the situation. I know my dad served and I’ll never disrespect the flag, but there’s also gotta be change in the world, and kneeling has nothing to do with those who served our country.”

MLB Mookie Betts

  1. He’s a game-changer

Mookie Betts is easily one of the best all-around players in the MLB. Betts did not win the League Championship Series MVP during the Dodgers epic playoff comeback against Atlanta but his defense was terrific that series as he made run-saving plays defensively. He also did not win the World Series MVP but his baserunning was fantastic and spoke to his baseball acumen. His presence as a previous World Series champion and his various abilities were a major reason why the Dodgers are world champions.

  1. He’s a best-seller

Major League Baseball doesn’t have the same amount of Black players as the NBA or the NFL. One thing Major League Baseball can promote regarding its Black baseball players is that the top two selling jerseys in Major League Baseball this year are Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. It is not surprising that Judge finished second behind Betts as he has had the best selling jersey of the previous three years. It is important to mention that the top two selling jerseys are Black athletes. It is incredible that baseball, which has a largely older white demographic, has Mookie Betts as the top jersey seller but that is likely due to him switching teams and his terrific skills.

  1. He’s paid

Back in July of 2020, Betts signed one of the biggest contracts in MLB history, a 12-year contract extension worth $365 million. It’s eye-popping enough to spur interest by young Black athletes to the game of baseball.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines