I don’t often tune into Jimmy Kimmel Live, but the directors pulled the right string on Monday night. On the Dodgers’ off-day, Cody Bellinger appeared as a guest with Kimmel.
The show’s official twitter account teased his appearance several hours prior to the show on twitter.
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) May 7, 2018
Kimmel producers were smart – forcing viewers to sit through the entire show before Bellinger took the stage. A quick recap of the segment for those of you who missed it:
- Kimmel mentioned that everyone on the Dodgers is hurt – except Bellinger.
- They talked about the Mexico series – Bellinger said that it felt like three home games for the team. Dodgers fans really represented well in Monterey.
- Bellinger was asked if he was hazed much as a rookie, and he said that he had to dress up as Elvis. The costume was bought by Justin Turner. He was also the designated ‘beer carrier’ on road trips.
- Alex Verdugo has taken over as the team’s designated beer carrier in 2018.
- Bellinger visits IHOP every morning as a superstition – taking a scooter he bought off Amazon to the restaurant.
- They talked about Clay Bellinger playing in less than 200 regular season games but four different World Series appearances.
- His favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter, besides his father.
- On playing with Yasiel Puig – “He’s crazy, and from Cuba. There are so many crazy stories I could tell you about him (like licking his bat). We have a lot of respect for him, he plays at 100 percent. He’s a clown, an idiot (laughter followed).”
- The Walker Buehler no-hitter was mentioned – the team talked about it so little that Bellinger almost didn’t realize the feat was accomplished until after the game.
- Kimmel called him Clay Bellinger by mistake while signing off.
Bellinger also recently appeared on Backstage: Dodgers on Sportsnet LA. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Bellinger touring us through the Arizona home he grew up in. To put it in Bellinger’s own words, it was ‘pretty cool’ (watch the video).
#CodyLove, Blowing Up
So it’s not quite Letterman yet – that may take winning a World Series MVP to bring Bellinger coast-to-coast stardom. But clearly, there’s something about the Dodgers’ young first baseman that network producers like Kimmel’s have identified as being marketable or popular. Bellinger moves the needle, whether it be collectibles, apparel (do you have your #CodyLove shirt yet?), or putting butts in the seats. None of this happens without success on the field. In a season that has been mired in some adversity, Bellinger has held his own. Bellinger has four homers, and a .283/.340/.465 slash line without really getting hot yet.
The bottom line is the more we see of Bellinger the person, he’s very likable and marketable. He has a true sense of humor and humility that lets you know he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Los Angeles is lucky to call him one of their own.