Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Mookie Betts Explains Decision to Participate in Home Run Derby

Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts has accomplished so much in Major League Baseball already and he is still only 30-years-old. He is a two-time World Series winner, six time All-Star, six time gold-glove winner, a batting champion and a MVP. But one thing that he doesn’t have on his impressive resume is participating in the Home Run Derby.

“It’s the last thing I haven’t done,” Betts told this week. “My wife kind of compared it to [NBA superstar LeBron James] not doing the dunk contest. And that’s not a knock or anything, but she just feels like for what I’m trying to do in baseball, bring awareness to Black culture, I should probably be more involved.”


Betts announced recently that he would be a member of this season’s Home Run Derby, marking the first time in his career. But this appearance will be about so much more than just trying to hit home runs for him. It’s about representation.

Representation for more black baseball players on the game’s biggest stage. Representation for that young kid that could be watching the event and think, “that could be me”. It’s bigger than the game of baseball and Betts realizes this. He understands that the platform he has is special and he can’t let it go to waste. This kind of representation really matters and Betts wants to help take it upon himself to help out communities for the better.

“Not necessarily even getting Black people playing baseball, but it’s getting around it, getting people off the streets,” Betts said. “How many 10- to 18-year-old kids can save time or go to college or whatever just by playing the game of baseball? That’s kind of what my goal is. Not necessarily to get all of us to the big leagues, but to get culture in the game and what makes the game fun and get us off the streets.”


Baseball is a beautiful game that deserves to be shared with everyone. It’s why the World Baseball Classic this season was such a success because on the biggest stage in the world, the players got to be themselves. There was excitement on the field and that is what has drawn so many to other sport leagues like the NBA or NFL. Major League Baseball needs more of that flare and we need more players being who they are to help grow the game out to a larger audience.

Betts isn’t the only player helping to make a change and he understands that he can’t do it alone. It will take everyone doing their part in order to make a meaningful difference.

“It’s hard, man. It’s really hard,” Betts said. “You have a sport that is ingrained in one way and to get that to change, it’s going to take the white players, too. It’s going to take all of us.”


Betts is in the midst of a great season for LA. He currently is hitting .260 with 17 home runs and 43 runs batted in. This is a great time for him to participate in the ultimate show during the All-Star festivities. Knowing Betts, he will put on a great performance because that is just who he is.

The Dodgers and their fans are lucky to have him on their team. He knows that what he does off the field is just as important, if not more so, than on the field. The sport of baseball is better off with Betts leading the charge as both an activist and a star player.

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Matt Levine

Matt earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Louisiana State University in 2021. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, growing up a huge fan of the Dodgers and Lakers. Matt Kemp was his favorite Dodgers player growing up.

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