Mookie Betts has nothing but love for Boston.
The super-talented outfielder, drafted by the Red Sox in 2011, is in the midst of his third season with the Dodgers following a trade that sent him and David Price to Los Angeles in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. A lot has changed for both teams since the 2020 deal — after which Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million contract extension with the Dodgers — but his fondness for his former team remains very much intact, dispelling any notion that he left the Red Sox on bad terms.
Betts revealed such Tuesday while talking with WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the “Bradfo Sho” podcast, which you can listen to here.
Bradford asked Betts if he had a message for Red Sox fans, and the 29-year-old offered a classy response that speaks to how much he still cherishes his time in Boston.
“I just don’t want anybody, especially when I go back, man, I don’t want it to be like it was hatred or I didn’t want to be there,” Betts told Bradford, as transcribed on WEEI.com. “I loved everybody in Boston. I loved it. That was the best time of my life. Obviously, it’s a new chapter now and I’ve got to live where my feet are, but I’ll never forget all those memories, all those fans, and all the things I did in Boston, all the people, that was my life. It’s something I’ll never forget. Every time I go back to Boston, I’ll go back to all the places I used to go to and see all the people I used to see, and just tell everybody how loved (I felt) and thank everybody for the opportunity, the cheers, the boos, the happiness, the crying, the ups and … everything, man. It was a great time in my life and I want to thank everybody for that.”
Betts blossomed into a superstar with the Red Sox, earning four All-Star selections, four Gold Glove awards, three Silver Slugger awards, an MVP award and, most importantly, a World Series title across six major league seasons in Boston (2014-19). He’s continued to build on that résumé with the Dodgers, even securing another championship ring in his first year with the Los Angeles organization.
Betts’ departure from Boston always will be a touchy subject, simply because he was a homegrown product who enjoyed so much success with the Red Sox before being traded to the Dodgers in the thick of his prime. But both sides approached his impending free agency with a business mindset, and it’s obvious neither the Red Sox nor Betts harbors any ill will despite not coming to an agreement.