Mookie Betts talks return to Fenway Park, first sport in opposition to Pink Sox: ‘I’m actually nervous’

Pink Sox

“It’s the place I grew up, and I don’t know what to anticipate. Hopefully it’s cool, although.”

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in Los Angeles.
Mookie Betts is among the frontrunners for the NL MVP Award this season. AP Photograph/Ryan Solar

Later this week, Mookie Betts will step into the Fenway Park batter’s field for the primary time since Sept. 29, 2019. And he’ll accomplish that as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Friday’s series-opening matchup between the Pink Sox and Dodgers will stand as Betts’ long-awaited return after the Pink Sox traded the All-Star outfielder again in February 2020.

It’ll mark a journey that’s come full circle for Betts, who mentioned his expectations for Friday’s reunion with Boston throughout Bleacher Report’s newest episode of “On Base With Mookie Betts.”

“This can be my first time going again since 2019. I’m actually nervous,” Betts advised present Dodgers teammate and former Pink Sox outfielder Kiké Hernández. “Like, I’m actually nervous. It’s extra simply that I haven’t been again in so lengthy.

“It’s the place I grew up, and I don’t know what to anticipate. Hopefully it’s cool, although. I feel it is going to be enjoyable. I’m [going to] go in there and see the clubhouse. The clubhouse is new, a variety of new issues, a variety of new faces. I’m extra excited to see the folks, although. The individuals are what I bear in mind probably the most.”

Betts developed right into a fan favourite and one of the crucial proficient gamers in baseball throughout his six seasons with the Pink Sox.

He gained the AL MVP throughout a 2018 season that noticed Boston win a franchise-best 108 video games en path to a World Collection title. He additionally captured 4 All-Star nods, 4 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers, to go together with a runner-up spot within the 2016 AL MVP voting behind Mike Trout.

Though Betts requested Hernandez for recommendation about the right way to method his return to the Pink Sox, his teammate advised him to not fret about what sort of reception he would possibly get from Boston followers.

“I feel you’re gonna be full of love,” Hernandez mentioned. “The locker room is good. The visiting locker room, you’ve by no means been in, isn’t so good. However the house new aspect is good. I can inform these followers love you, they nonetheless do. I noticed lot of No. 50 jerseys nonetheless day-after-day. So, they miss you, bro. You probably did lots for that crew.”

With Betts approaching free company (and a hefty new contract), the Pink Sox opted to commerce Betts and David Worth to Los Angeles earlier than the 2020 season in a deal that included Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong, and Jeter Downs.

The Dodgers later signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. To this point, he’s been definitely worth the funding for L.A.

Together with serving to the Dodgers win their first World Collection in 32 years in the course of the 2020 season, Betts has slashed .279/.366/.542 with 108 house runs and 265 RBI over 437 profession video games along with his new crew.

He has posted a 20.7 WAR to date in his 4 seasons with the Dodgers, and is taken into account one of many front-runners for NL MVP this season throughout a yr the place he’s already slugged 34 house runs and pushed in 86 runs over 118 video games.

Chatting with former Pink Sox teammate Brock Holt final month, Betts mentioned that he needed to stay in Boston for his complete profession. 

“I do know folks don’t imagine it,” Betts advised Holt on an episode of Foul Territory. “However I needed to remain in Boston my complete profession. That’s the place I grew up. That’s my life. I knew all people there. It was a brief flight to Nashville. Like, all the pieces was excellent.”

Holt requested if Betts would have put pen to paper if the Pink Sox supplied the identical 12-year, $365 million contract.

“Oh yeah, it was 100%,” Betts mentioned. “But it surely didn’t occur.”