There are many great players around Major League baseball. Players of all shapes and sizes. Fast or slow. Sluggers or big on base guys. But there are no players like Markus Lynn Betts. Let me tell you one thing, that man is special. The moment he came up to The Show you knew there was just something special about him. He’s not necessarily that strong or that tall, he’s a smaller guy. He’s not Jose Altuve small, but he’s not a big guy. None of that doesn’t matter for Mookie.
WHY HE’S SO IMPORTANT
Mookie Betts is one of the best athletic guys i’ve ever seen. He plays in the toughest right field in baseball very well. Any ball hit in his general area is an automatic out. He has amazing fielding to go along with his strong arm. Mookie in right field is one of those situations where if he’s not playing, you notice. Don’t get me wrong now, I love JD Martinez to death. But whenever he’s in right instead of Mookie, there are several plays that go down that certainly would have turned out differently with Mookie out there.
Then comes his hitting. Its safe to say Mookie no doubt has the quickest hands in the game. You can’t pitch him inside, because no matter how inside you want to get with him he’s able to hit it. Not only is he able to hit it but he’s able to put the barrel on the ball which makes it extremely hard to jam him. He’s having a career year in 2018 hitting with a .339 batting average and a slashing of .432/.625/1.057 with 30 home runs. He’s also struck out only 86 times, which is one of the lowest in all of baseball. Pretty decent leadoff hitter i’d say.
THE HUMBLE MAN
One of the things I love most about Betts is how humble he is. The last thing he would ever do is go around bragging about what he does and how good he is. In fact, he does the opposite. In 2016, Mookie Betts was the runner up for MVP. After the year he said that he may never have a year like that again. He caught some fire for that quote because he sounded like he he wasn’t confident. What everyone has learned since is that is just how Mookie is. If he ever talks about himself, its in a bad way. He’s almost too humble.
Betts has hit 30 home runs this year, thats enough for someone to be called a home run hitter, right? Not for Mookie. During the Home Run Derby, Jessica Mendoza asked him if he was a Home Run hitter. He said that he wasn’t and sometimes the ball “just gets out.” Alex Cora said recently during an interview that Mookie always fears he’ll lose his swing and start to struggle at the plate. But he just ends up going out there every night and making hard contact anyway. This is just who Mookie Betts is, someone who realizes that you can struggle at any point and you just have to stay humble.
Mookie’s had some huge At Bat’s this year, including the 13 pitch At bat that would result in a grand slam as you can see above. But on Thursday night in Yankee Stadium, he hit one that will forever be special and amazing. The Red Sox went into New York needing to win just one game in order to clinch the AL East. After falling in the first two games, they were facing a sweep. They were also facing the possibility of not being able to clinch in the bronx, which would be a real bummer. Mookie Betts had other plans.
ENDING THEIR HOPES
He would start off the game with a line shot that was about a couple feet from getting out that would end up being a double. In his next AB, with runners on second and third with 2 out, he would go the other way to drive in both runs to make it 3-0. His next AB would result in yet another double after the Yankees took the lead in the bottom half of the 4th, and would later come into score to cut into their lead and make it 6-5. His moment of the game was yet to come.
After the Red Sox rallied back to not only tie the game but take an 8-6 lead, Aroldis Chapman would come into the game in the top of the 8th. Devers would get a hit and Jackie Bradley would walk to put 2 men on. With 2 outs Mookie would come up to the plate with Devers at second and Bradley on first. Two pitches into the At Bat it would be a 1-1 count. The packed crowd at Yankee Stadium all hoping that Chapman can get out of this, keep the game close and see if the offense has one more rally in them.
Although this division race had been over for a good while now, the Yankees still had something to play for in this series. They were playing to prevent Boston from celebrating the division on their turf. That’s a big deal, and those Yankees players would be lying if they said they didn’t care if the Red Sox celebrated on their field. I know that if the Red Sox were in the Yankees position, the last thing i’d want is for them to clinch at Fenway. You can’t let that happen.
CLINCHING AT YANKEE STADIUM
So this crowd did indeed have something to cheer for. Those hopes were all crushed and the souls were sucked out of every Yankee fan as Mookie Betts would take a 1-1 slider from Aroldis Chapman and send it into the Yankee Stadium night for a 3 run homer extending the lead to 5. Sending all the Yankee fans home and putting the dagger on the division race. Giving the Red Sox their 3rd consecutive AL East title and their 4th in the last 6 years.
Mookie Betts is just one very special player that the Red Sox are blessed to have. You better bet they are going to offer him a big contract real soon. If I any say in it, just give Mookie 20 years and be done with it. Sign this man to a lifetime contract.