Ex-Red Sox Mookie Betts Worried About Return To Fenway Park
It’s been four years since the last time Mookie Betts played at Fenway Park, but that’ll soon come to an end this season.
The former Red Sox star outfielder is set to make his return to Boston, with the Dodgers, in August for a three-game series at the diamond where Betts’ spent the first six years of his big league career. But now four years deep into his Los Angeles stint, the 30-year-old has a looming concern about the most memorable part of any professional athlete’s return to a place where they spent a bulk of their careers: the welcome home ovation. Betts explained his trepidation to Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers on Bleacher Report’s “On Base With Mookie Betts” series.
“A couple of guys got banged when they had their going home party,” Betts said. “So when I go back to Boston, I’m just gonna have to take a strike. You know what I’m saying? Or you know what? I think they can submit (a request to avoid a pitch clock violation penalty). I’m submitting a form. I’m getting that. I think that’s crazy.”
While charging a hitter for a strike in this scenario, which happened to Cody Bellinger during his return to Dodger Stadium this season, makes no sense at all, Betts can work his way around having his upcoming moment spoiled. Major League Baseball offers request submissions within 24 hours before the game in which a player would need a moment to acknowledge the crowd and step outside the batter’s box, exonerating them of the 0-1 penalty for failure to step in within eight seconds.
Therefore, as long as Betts and the Dodgers don’t procrastinate, he should be good to go.
This was the case with Seattle Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernández when he returned to Toronto after spending six seasons with the Blue Jays. Hernández soaked in the standing ovation before his first at-bat and wasn’t charged with a strike after submitting his request to MLB beforehand.
“I just feel like there should be some feel there,” Yelich explained. “Like it’s not that hard to know you’re not trying to waste time. Like you’re not there being like, ‘Oh I don’t care, I’m just gonna take five minutes before I get in the box.’ Obviously, you won a World Series, MVPs for that city and team. Obviously, they’re gonna show you love.”
The Red Sox host the Dodgers for Betts’ first return to Fenway Park on Aug. 25.
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