Sunday October 1, 2023

MVP and Businessman: Mookie Betts Continues to Master It All

  • Betts has gone full Hollywood with his production company OMG.
  • He also speaks on being part the L.A. "superteam" helmed by Dave Roberts.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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In 2020, Mookie Betts made waves after he was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers and subsequently signed a 12-year, $365 million contract — the second-largest in MLB history. The Dodgers won the World Series later that year for Betts’ second career ring.

Since then, the 29-year-old has continued to perfect his craft on the field — earning his fifth All-Star selection last season — while adding to his portfolio off it: In recent seasons, his One Media/Marketing Group (OMG) signed a production deal with content creator Propagate, he partnered with Axe Bat, and he’s continued his side career as a professional bowler.

Most recently, Betts partnered with BODYARMOR as a spokesperson for its line of EDGE products.

FOS sat down with Betts to discuss his business ventures, hitting, and his feelings on being part of Los Angeles’ “superteam.”

You once said you’re more than a baseball player and that you’re very selective with your off-field business. Why is building your off-field brand so important to you?

We play this game, in the grand scheme of things, for not that long in life. It just depends on who you are: Do you want to be known as a baseball player, or do you want to be known as more?

I’m the one that wants to be known as more than a baseball player. I can do business as well. I just make sure I focus here and put effort toward that because once I’m done playing — and everyone is done playing at some point — I can be ready for the next step in life.

Your production company OMG announced a partnership with Propagate to produce all kinds of content. What made you decide to go Hollywood…besides being in L.A.?

It just started with me and three of my boys [Derrick Phillips, Cam Lewis, and Jeff Mason]. We were working out one day and we said we wanted to do it. I had just gone to L.A. and the opportunity was there, and I just rolled with it. I was able to put pieces in motion that could help me. That’s how that played out.

Talk about your side career as a professional bowler.

Bowling for me… that’s something I started doing before I was playing baseball. That’s a family thing that I’ll never stop. It’s just fun for me to get away from baseball for a couple months and I can shift to doing something that I actively love doing.

What motivated you to start using an Axe handle bat?

To get hits, that’s how it started. Then once I got a couple of hits, I just got comfortable with it. You know how baseball players are: Once we have a little success with something, then we’re kind of superstitious, so we continue to use it. So I just stuck with it and I love it.

Theo Epstein drafted you to the Red Sox in part because you scored remarkably high on cognitive tests that track eye movement and reaction time. How does a baseball look to you when it’s leaving a pitcher’s hand?

I have no idea. I’ve been doing it for so long. I’ve never had to put it in words. It’s so fast, man. It’s funny when people think that it’s just easy to hit. It may have been a little easier to hit, you know, seven, eight, nine, 10 years ago when people were throwing 92. And that’s not easy to hit, but now that everyone is throwing 100, it’s unexplainable.

What’s it like playing with this incredible collection of talent on the Dodgers this season?

Good, obviously, to be on this roster, but we gotta play, man. That’s all that matters. Doesn’t matter who’s on the team — you gotta get hits, you gotta pitch, you gotta run the bases, you gotta do all those things. It just matters that you’re actually taking care of the job. If we’re a superteam, you’d think we’d just be blowing everybody out, but you’ve got to play well. Anybody who’s playing well, that’s the best team — not just on paper.

What did the 2020 Dodgers and 2018 Red Sox World Series teams have in common — besides having Mookie Betts?

Really good comradery. That goes a long way. Anything you do, having comradery is very important. But as I referred to earlier, we pulled together and played well. We pitched, we had timely hitting, and we played defense. We did all the little things well. That’s how you have a superteam: They play super because they do all the little things well. So I think that’s what those two teams had in common: We had all of the aspects of the game right, and we had each other’s backs.

People speak very highly of Dave Roberts. How has it been playing under him?

It’s been great. He talks to us, communicates with us. He’s a really good manager. He really cares about everybody in the clubhouse — coaches, staff, everybody, players. He wants everyone to be successful. You can’t really ask for more than that. He doesn’t come in demanding a whole lot other than that we play the game hard, play it the right way. And when we make mistakes, he’s not there talking down on us. He’s there to lift us up. He’s a really good person first, and then a really good manager second.

What is it about BODYARMOR, and specifically this EDGE campaign, that made you feel comfortable attaching your name?

Being the new name in BODYARMOR has been great. They’ve done an amazing job with the brand. They’re a game-changer in the sports drink world. This is pretty much the same thing as the regular BODYARMOR but has a little caffeine that gives you that edge for one more [rep] or to work harder than the next guy. That’s me, per se. I always want to work harder than the next guy and be the hardest-working person in the room.

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