The Los Angeles Dodgers won their tenth NL West title in the past 11 seasons on Saturday with a win over the Seattle Mariners.
Winning is a familiar theme for the kings of the west and the team has plenty of superstars and veteran leadership in its ranks, including — among others — Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman, all of whom received All-Star nods this season and are very much accustumed to winning throughout their careers.
But along with a sizable collection of stars, it takes a good culture to win, and Kershaw spoke about just how important that is this weekend, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
“I can’t speak to other clubhouses,” Kershaw said. “But I just know that since I’ve been here, it’s not about one guy. It never has been. We have two guys that might win MVP. We’ve got All-Stars all over the place. But the buy-in to winning the game that day, it’s basically as simple as that.
“Culture is a really hard thing to, like, say what culture is in the clubhouse. Because no matter what you have to have good players to win the game regardless of how good their clubhouse is or not. But I think at the end of the day, there’s a humility with our superstars that trickles down and lets everybody do their jobs well. Mookie and Freddie take their fair share of the limelight and rightfully so, but they don’t project it. They don’t ask for it. They handle it really well. And then it allows everybody else to kind of do their jobs.”via The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya
One thing that comes to mind immediately when it comes to that buy-in is Betts’ exploits in the middle of the Dodgers’ infield.
The 10-year veteran played exclusively in right field for eight of his first nine seasons, before injuries at the shortstop position necessitated a change.
Betts stepped in to fill that void at times and also has manned second base for the first time since 2014 this season.
He still hit as good as he’s ever had this year and provided reliable defense for a Dodgers team that has struggled in that area at times, becoming an NL Most Valuable Player candidate and one of the most versatile players in the league in the process.
The team was languishing in third place in June, and they finished the year as grand as usual, holding a 13 and a half game lead over the second place Arizona Diamondbacks as of Monday afternoon.
LA has Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Kershaw to thank for that in addition to other contributors, but their culture certainly played a part as well.
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