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Dodgers: Mookie Betts Stuns Locker Room With Challenge to His Teammates

The Dodgers’ newest star outfielder started off Spring Training with a strong challenge to his new team.



When the Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts this offseason, they got more than just an All-Star player. They also got a clubhouse leader and a guy that will change the pace of a clubhouse for the better. On the first night of Spring Camp, Mookie immediately called David Price to let him know he would be issuing the new team a challenge. 

In interviews with USA Today, several players discussed what Betts had said on the first day of Spring. Mookie came out strong and let his new team know that this year needs to be different in Los Angeles. 

“I thought it was awesome, a great message. It definitely impacted our camp. The intensity went up right after that. He’s treating every ground ball, every fly ball, like it’s Game 7 of the World Series, and there are ramifications if you mess it up.” – Dodgers’ Outfielder AJ Pollock

Pollock, who is still relatively new to the Dodgers, wasn’t the only veteran impressed. Justin Turner, who is the de facto clubhouse leader, was also happy to see it from Betts.

“It was definitely surprising to a lot of people. You don’t see a guy coming into a clubhouse, not knowing too many guys, get up, and basically challenge the whole team to be accountable. That was something pretty special. It’s something I’ll probably never forget.” -Justin Turner

Generally speaking, it’s not often that you see a new player make such a strong statement this early. But the Dodgers have long been living in cruise control, winning division after division but with nothing to show for it. That’s not to say they haven’t come close. They probably should have won the 2017 World Series, given that the Astros had to cheat to take the series seven games.

But winning the National League West for seven straight years is not enough. Going to the World Series in back-to-back years is not enough. And Mookie Betts knows that the time is now for the Dodgers to bring back a title to Los Angeles. 

“Hopefully this is a season that will be remembered forever in LA. It’s time.’’ -Mookie Betts

No more games, it’s time to get down to business. It’s time for a Dodgers World Series. 

NEXT: Sandy Koufax Statue Unveiling Expected in June

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Its about time someone stepped up and challenged everyone to lay it all on the line. Sad that it took this long and it took someone previously outside the organization to bring it up but Mookie was right, the Dodgers have been coasting for way too long. And then when it came time to really turn up the heat, they couldn’t do it, they couldn’t access that urgency that should have been in play all year long.

    So Dave Roberts, quit messing with the lineups and the pitchers. AJ Pollack, last year was the free one… IT COUNTS NOW!. Bullpen, quit pitching like you are scared to death, get aggressive and do the job you were hired to do. If it is not you, then who? JT, Cody B, Maxie, Corey S and all the rest: You have your marching orders! Follow the leader, who seems to be Mookie Betts. Whether the need is just a hit to win a game or a big hit when needed most, THE TIME IS NOW. NO MORE EXCUSES.

  2. I like it. Before you can win it all you have to want to win it all, and commit to it. You need to own it. The Dodgers need to enter 2020 with a chip on their shoulder. We all know they were robbed in 2017. They need some attitude, and Betts is doing his part. The rest need to buy into it.

  3. Its great.
    Last year anyone watching and listening could see that the team has a very professional attitude. Mookie will fit right in. Do we have a guy or two who can keep the team loose though. Fiery guys like Puig or Verdugo add spice over a 162 game season. Players are not drones or robots.

  4. Thank you, Mr. Betts. I have said it many times before, the Dodgers seem to just put it all in cruise control and take it for granted. There is a time when more than one person has to talk up and get the team back in gear. Roberts used to be a good guy to bring up the team, he was a go-getter. Roberts needs to put in play better ideas, more hit and run, run and hit, stealing bases, bunts. For the money these guys are getting they should be able to do more than just hit the home run. Pitchers have a certain great pitch but they learn other pitches as they go along. These batters should hit to the opposite field when it is needed. Everyone should be able to bunt, even power hitters, surprise the opponent. Make the other team keep thinking about what’s next. Use more tools more often. Know the other teams’ weaknesses. And to top it off the players have to be honest about their injuries. This has happened too many times in the past, you hide your injuries you hurt the team.

    • With Betts there are far more options for bunts, stolen bases, etc. The Dodgers have forgotten how to play small ball. I hope Betts can get them back to basics. I also agree with more hitting the other way, especially against the shift. There will be tight games in the postseason like last year’s extra inning loss against the Nats in game 5 where one manufactured run can mean the difference between winning and losing. I t shouldn’t all be a home run derby.

  5. In 1988 the Dodgers were in the middle of one of their Lange stories WS droughts since the 1930’s when they signed Kirk Gibson, a superstar in his own right. Early in spring training some of the homegrown Dodger players attempted to play a practical joke on him. His response was to challenge everyone involved to a fight. He then made it clear what their goal should be and what it would take to reach it. Gibson wasn’t the best liked player in the team, but he was the most respected. Good job Mookie!

      • Right, check your Dodger history! In the WS 3 times in 40’s, 5 times in 50’s, 3 times in 60’s, 3 times in 70’s, 2 in 80’s.

    • And that 1988 team did not have near the talent or depth this team now has and has had for the last few years. And get this…in 1988, Dodgers won a WS with a grand TOTAL of 99 team HR’s, unheard of in today’s game. They won it with great pitching, limiting an A’s team to only 2 HR’s in those 5 games…Dodgers hit 5 in the 5 games.

  6. yaaawn… just how many times must “new” articles about MLB be simply just be rewrites of weeks old info?

    I understand this is a pretty slow time news wise but, come on you’re better than this…

  7. and for all that is holy…these guys need to be grown men and accept gift hits when teams apply shifts…this team is touted as being maybe the best in Dodger history. That should mean players can rely on the next guy in the BO to take advantage of they guy going the other way to beat a shift. Soon enough teams will stop. Be professionals, grow the heck up and play to win as a team. Stop playing like kids needing the orange slices in the 7th inning stretch..

  8. I agree with Mookie that it’s our Dodger Nation to bring a world series home to LA. LET’S GO DODGER NATION!

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