Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have a lot in common. Both won MVP Awards, won World Series titles, made All-Star teams, and won Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers with the teams that drafted them, and both eventually ended up with the Dodgers. Mookie came over in an early-2000 trade from the Red Sox, and Freddie signed two years later after the Braves decided to trade for Matt Olson instead of re-signing him.
When Freeman signed with Los Angeles last spring, he and Betts hit it off pretty quickly and became great friends. Freeman led the team in doubles, on-base percentage, OPS, hits, and RBIs, while Betts led LA in homers and all the defensive categories. And in an amazingly adorable show of solidarity, the two stars tied for the team (and league) lead with 117 runs scored.
Doug McKain of Dodgers Nation talked with Freeman in the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch recently, and when Doug asked about the friendship between him and Betts, Freddie revealed that the baseball bond is only part of why he and Mookie have become so tight.
“Yeah, it’s pretty special. It’s just, when you see people that have the same aspirations, not only in baseball but in life, that’s kind of why we hit it off. We’re just drawn to each other. Obviously a great baseball player — a great everything, sports-wise — but a wonderful human being, too. Four years here now, he’s really getting really comfortable here, and it’s going to be good for not only us but for the Dodger organization for a long time.”
That phrase — “not only in baseball but in life” — really hits hard. Both Freeman and Betts are family men, dedicated to making the world better. They have two of the best (and most frequent) smiles in baseball, and they seem to be genuinely good people who happen to be among the best in the world at hitting a baseball. You get the impression that if these two guys had ended up working for the same accounting firm or construction crew, they still would have hit it off.
We get at least five more years of the Freddie and Mookie show, and hopefully the 2023 version will be every bit as fun as 2022 was — but with a better ending.
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