The dust from MLB deciding to move this summer’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta settled a while ago. But three weeks after commissioner Rob Manfred made the bold call to pull the game out of Georgia following the state’s enactment of onerous voting laws, one of baseball’s brightest stars, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, would like to commend MLB for doing the right thing. Even if he’d prefer to talk about something else.
“I’m not a big political guy so it’s kind of tough for me to get into, but just from a quick analysis that’s definitely the right decision and we need to help make some changes and get the world on the same page,” says Betts.
Precisely what or how those changes can be made maybe we’ll find out during our next conversation with the two-time World Series champion who just happens to have MLB’s best-selling jersey. But it was cool to quickly chat up one of baseball’s most dynamic and exciting players about MLB’s bold move and a bunch of other things like the incredible catch he made in San Diego last weekend, the sizzling Dodgers-Padres rivalry, and Call of Duty’s new “Squad up the World” campaign—filmed by Gibson Hazard to celebrate the free-to-play game Warzone—that Betts co-stars in.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
That catch you made against the Padres last weekend to end the game was phenomenal and you were incredibly fired up after it. Have you ever been that hyped after an early-season win?
I don’t know if I’ve been like that in an early-season game. Even with the Padres and whatnot, things are kind of amplified. Obviously, we know they’re going to be tough to beat. I think it was just a lot. All the games were tight, you know. It was just one of those things where they come ready to play and I think it didn’t really matter who the opponent was I think I would’ve been pretty excited to make a play like that.
You said you blacked-out on that play. I’m curious if now looking back on it if you remember more of the moment?
I think I more just remember before and kind of after. You kind of see plays happen before—and I’m not saying I saw that play happen before—but I definitely look around and say, “If there’s a ball I gotta dive after this ball. You have to make a play right here with two outs in the ninth.” I’m not saying I saw that happen before, but I was definitely prepared to layout and do what I needed to do to make a play.
The Dodgers-Padres rivalry is so much fun for baseball fans right now. How does it compare to Yankees-Red Sox rivalry you used to be a part of?
I think the Yankees-Red Sox was obviously huge. But, to me, Yankees-Red Sox was more just pure slugging. Almost like two heavyweights beating up on each other. This series seems more like, I don’t know if younger is the word, there’s more like base stealing, defense. I feel like the pitching matchups are a lot different. It’s just a different brand of baseball that’s really good.
I talked to Cody Bellinger a week before the season started and asked him about the Dodgers clubhouse being the most fun he’s ever been in. What’s it like mixing with all those unique personalities?
It’s super fun, man. I think being in that bubble [last October] definitely helped us mesh. I think we had a great clubhouse last year, but going into the bubble there was no arguments, no fights, no nothing, it was just like travel ball. You’re around your boys all the time, laugh and joke. Being around those guys, 10-12 hours a day, we looked forward to it. If you look forward to those types of things I think that definitely helps you on the field as well.
I was trying to see if you had been asked about the All-Star Game being moved out of Atlanta, but didn’t see any quotes about it. So what did you think of MLB’s decision to move the game to Colorado?
I think MLB made the right decision. There’s obviously two sides to everything. But I definitely think it was the right decision. I’m not a big political guy so it’s kind of tough for me to get into, but just from a quick analysis that’s definitely the right decision and we need to help make some changes and get the world on the same page.
So let’s talk gaming. You appear in the Call of Duty campaign “Squad up the World”. Tell me what that experience was like.
It was super cool, man. Obviously, [Hazard is] so great with everything. He’s a creative mind and all that stuff. It was super dope. It was a set that you don’t really see it until the end, you know. That’s how creative you know he is. He was super fun, laughing, joking, talking, real laid back and chill. It was something much, much different than I’ve been accustomed to.
The campaign featured a bunch of cool names like Young Thug, Gunna, Swae Lee, and Dennis Schroder, among others. If you were making a dream gaming squad, who would be on it?
That is a great question because I have never even thought down that path. Oh man. I don’t even have a clue. I don’t even know who plays video games, really. I can’t answer that.
So that may knock out one of my follow-ups. I was going to ask who is the best gamer on the Dodgers and around baseball.
I don’t know. I don’t play games with the guys around the league. The schedule is so tough to get on the same page and whatnot with it. So I usually just play games with some of my friends back home. I don’t have an answer to that.
So there’s no talking shit in the Dodgers clubhouse about someone being a better gamer than everybody else?
Oh yeah, there’s definitely that. But I don’t play with those guys so it’s kind of tough for me…because those guys play together with their friends from back home as well so I haven’t even gotten to play with them.
Breakdown your gaming skills. We know you’re incredible at baseball and you’re phenomenal at bowling. How good are you on the console and with the controller?
I play mouse and keyboard. I don’t know that that matters. I would give my grade probably like a C, C+. I thought mouse and keyboard would help me.
Mouse and keyboard sounds really old school.
They say it’s coming back. Like more guys are starting to use it. The movement is a lot different. I like the movement more, but I don’t know if it helps me.