Eric Gay/Associated Press
Mookie Betts shined in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series, and he discussed being the only African American player in the Fall Classic during a postgame interview with MLB Network.
“Obviously, there’s got to be more of us here,” he said while revealing he did not know he was the only African American player in the series until he was asked about it.
“It starts in the inner cities,” he continued. “We have to give back and whatnot. I’m doing my part, putting some programs together to get us into baseball. But I hope everybody is out here watching because I’m 5’9″ and 170 pounds just like the majority of us. So, anything is possible.”
In July, Betts told reporters “I think baseball did not do a good job with that,” when discussing the league’s response to the police killing of George Floyd and the worldwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism it sparked.
Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports noted the league’s statement at the time came after a number of other sports leagues and individual teams issued responses to the moment.
New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman was among those who noticed how long it took:
Betts, whom the Boston Red Sox traded to Los Angeles this past offseason, knelt during the playing of the national anthem ahead of the season opener against the San Francisco Giants as a means of protest against systemic racism and police brutality:
On the field in Tuesday’s game, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, two steals, two runs and a walk as the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter in the straightforward victory. He showed off his versatility by making things happen on the basepaths and adding some power with the home run and likely took an early lead in the World Series MVP race as the best player on the field.
Betts won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018 and appears primed to lead the Dodgers to their first title since the 1988 campaign.