Mookie Betts made quite an impression with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Not only did the superstar outfielder thrive on the field in 2020, his first season with the Dodgers following a trade from the Boston Red Sox. He also set the tempo in Los Angeles’ clubhouse, which ultimately proved instrumental in the organization winning the World Series.
“Well, it didn’t take long to figure out what he was all about,” Dodgers teammate Justin Turner told Colin Cowherd this week on FS1. “I’ve played against Mookie for a few years now, so I always knew how great of a player he was. But getting to see him in our clubhouse, and it was a big story last year: On Day 1, he got in front of the team and basically challenged us to practice better and be better in our workouts and be better in our drills and kinda set the tone that, ‘Hey, we’re not gonna show up and take things for granted. We’re gonna work hard. We’re gonna be accountable when we make mistakes.’ “
And Betts wasn’t just blowing smoke. He evidently called on his teammates to walk the walk in addition to talking the talk.
According to Turner, who has spent the last seven seasons with LA, Betts set up a pool that held players accountable for their defense.
“He put together a little program where anytime you made an error, you had to put $20 in the pot,” Turner told Cowherd. “It put a little pressure on guys to practice better, and from Day 1, you kinda got the sense of what he was all about, and then obviously you just watch him on a daily basis and the way he can change a baseball game is incredible.”
Turner, 36, has been around a little bit. He’s been part of several Dodgers near misses, even losing to Betts and the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series.
Thus, it’s interesting to hear from his perspective about Betts’ impact beyond the box score. Something clearly clicked for the Dodgers in 2020, and as a result, they’ll enter 2021 as the defending champs.
No word yet on whether Betts is running the pool again this year.