This morning the Boston Globe ran a story titled: “Mookie Betts of the Red Sox should be the face of baseball.” The story noted that Mike Trout, who they probably rightfully call the current Face of Baseball, really isn’t that much of a baseball promoter. Instead, he is – as he has a right to be – a sort of stay-at-home, no-nonsense, take-care-of-business kind of guy. Really, Trout plays the game the way it should be played and cares little about the extra attention.
For an old guy who has been a baseball fan for a long time, Trout has for me the look and excitement of old New York Yankees’ star and icon Mickey Mantle (probably without the drinking problem). Both center fielders, they were young and strong and could hit the ball hard and run like the wind. Both Mantle and Trout were extremely talented – stars in everyone’s books.
Mookie Betts might be every bit as good as Trout – but he is also different. Like Trout, Mookie consistently drives in more than 100 runs and is on pace to hit 40 homers this year. And, btw, he is leading the American League in batting average today at .355. He certainly is the MVP of his team. But, Mookie also has something else going for him – he has an out-going personality.
Just recently, it was fun to watch Mookie stare down a home run ball hit by Blue Jay’s Justin Smoak. When Smoak’s homer landed in the bull pen in Boston, Betts simply stared at the ball for about five seconds as it lay on the ground, smiled, and turned around and went back to play. It was a fun moment for a baseball fan.
The Boston Globe makes the point – and I cannot disagree – that Trout would rather just play baseball, spend time with his family, and let someone else do the other legwork needed to be a (whole of) baseball star – things like shooting commercials. Their point: promote their own Red Sox’ star – Mookie Betts – who would be more willing to do what is needed to raise the place of baseball with fans everywhere. They also point out, correctly, that Mookie is a game-changer with the kind of personality real baseball fans can identify with.
You get no argument from me on that one. As you can also see from the Youtube video, Betts is also a great bowler.