Mookie details Boston exit

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It's constantly discussed, so I thought this new interview was worth its own thread

"They had things they needed to take care of," said Betts of the Red Sox' offer. "They were in a situation where they had to do what's best for them. You can't really be mad at somebody for having to do what's best for them, especially when you have to do what's best for you. There's definitely no hatred there. Chaim (Bloom) did a great job kind of talking and being upfront and honest and made the whole process smooth. It sucks, but that's part of it."
Throughout his final years in Boston, Betts had always taking the tact that his contract commitment was going to be based in a business decision. This was not going to be driven by emotion. It was an approach he never deviated from, all the way until signing that life-changing deal with the Dodgers.
"I was able to kind of get over saying no the first time, seeing these big numbers on the paper," he said of the first offer extended by the Red Sox, when he was still years from becoming free agent-eligible. "Once I was able to say no the first time, it got a little easier and a little easier. And then you just start to understand the business side. ..."
https://www.audacy.com/weei/sports/red-sox/mookie-betts-wants-to-set-the-record-straight?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Here's the key quote:

"I just don't want anybody, especially when I go back, man, I don't want it to be like it was hatred or I didn't want to be there," Betts said when asked on the Bradfo Sho podcast if he had a message for Red Sox fans.
I've heard tons of "he didn't want to be here" nonsense and he specifically refutes that.
 

BaseballJones

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I am pretty sure most people here understood that Mookie went to the Dodgers because he was going to go to FA, and Boston wasn't going to give him what he was pretty sure other teams (read: the Dodgers) were. So he made a business decision. So did the Red Sox. So did the Dodgers. As usual, it came down to money.
 

jon abbey

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As usual, it came down to money.
Hmm, in the end he signed a deal that was essentially 12/300, $25M per year, once you factor in all the deferred money. We'll never know what would have happened without Covid uncertainty at the time, but it feels like he could have beaten that if all he cared about was the biggest deal (a la Cano to SEA).
 

brs3

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I'm already seeing responses to his quotes as, 'He shoulda said this 2 years ago!'. I'm fairly convinced those who said good riddance will not change their stance, which is fine. The division between those who feel this was a generational mistake and those who as fans look at it as business will continue to grow, regardless of what any players or owners say. We will probably be able to copy and paste the words verbatim when the next huge star does not stay in Boston for business reasons.
 

soxhop411

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I am pretty sure most people here understood that Mookie went to the Dodgers because he was going to go to FA, and Boston wasn't going to give him what he was pretty sure other teams (read: the Dodgers) were. So he made a business decision. So did the Red Sox. So did the Dodgers. As usual, it came down to money.
I also wonder if Covid never happened, would he have actually gone to FA (and still re-signed with the dodgers) but was able to get a bidding war started...

It was smart for him to sign the extension when he did given the uncertainty of sports in general at that time (plus the upcoming CBA hostilities during this past offseason


Hmm, in the end he signed a deal that was essentially 12/300, $25M per year, once you factor in all the deferred money. We'll never know what would have happened without Covid uncertainty at the time, but it feels like he could have beaten that if all he cared about was the biggest deal (a la Cano to SEA).
you beat me to it lol
 

BaseballJones

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Hmm, in the end he signed a deal that was essentially 12/300, $25M per year, once you factor in all the deferred money. We'll never know what would have happened without Covid uncertainty at the time, but it feels like he could have beaten that if all he cared about was the biggest deal (a la Cano to SEA).
Maybe yeah. But I guess I mean that Boston wasn't going to pay him what LA would have.
 

Sin Duda

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My personal take is that Mookie had someone in the business ("Uncle" Terry Shumpert) who told him he should bet on himself by refusing the Red Sox wealth and security of a pre-free agency contract. Most young players take the money. Mookie did not. I also believe it was clear he wanted to maximize his free agent contract, perhaps for as much as $420M and the Sox countered with only $300M. Ultimately, the Sox traded Mookie to the Dodgers to cut costs, recoup some value before he left on his own, and to rid themselves of David Price. For me, that was a smart baseball decision even though the fan in me will never get over the loss of such a beloved player. Mookie soon thereafter signed a $365M contract for 12 years with the Dodgers, considered in some circles as settling for slightly less that what he wanted, perhaps because he was with a very good team in a dynamic city, and the fact that COVID quarantining caused him to think he should take what was on the table. Who knows? I wish him well, and was glad he won another ring with the Dodgers. I hope he wins more rings so long as he's not competing against the Red Sox in the World Series. He seems like a good guy and he was our guy for 6 MLB years and one glorious, memorable, historic season.

I've moved on but continue to cheer for the Red Sox team we have. It's a good team that has some flaws but has players worth cheering for. If, at the end of the season, we lose Xander, I'll be upset, but there is a contingency (Trevor Story). But that's next off season. I'll enjoy this season while it's on. I love following baseball all summer, and can't get worked up over a player traded two years ago. But that's me and my fandom.
 

BringBackMo

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Hmm, in the end he signed a deal that was essentially 12/300, $25M per year, once you factor in all the deferred money. We'll never know what would have happened without Covid uncertainty at the time, but it feels like he could have beaten that if all he cared about was the biggest deal (a la Cano to SEA).
I think this is a fair interpretation. I do think, though, that the pandemic was an enormous influence on his decision to forego free agency and sign the extension offer. I personally believe that he had every intention of going all the way through free agency, if only to maximize the offer from the Dodgers. If I recall, he had spoken repeatedly about his sense of duty to the union and future players in getting every last dollar available to him. But suddenly we were facing a nearly unprecedented threat to the broader economy, and I personally believe that changed everything. You are absolutely correct, though. We will never know for sure.
 

Gash Prex

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Sounds like he misses Boston TBH.

"I loved everybody in Boston. I loved it. That was the best time of my life. Obviously, it's a new chapter now and I've got to live where my feet are, but I'll never forget all those memories, all those fans, and all the things I did in Boston, all the people, that was my life. It's something I'll never forget. Every time I go back to Boston, I'll go back to all the places I used to go to and see all the people I used to see, and just tell everybody how loved (I felt) and thank everybody for the opportunity, the cheers, the boos, the happiness, the crying, the ups and … everything man. It was a great time in my life and I want to thank everybody for that."
Just like anything else, there was a lot of talk where I didn't want to stay, or this, that, and the other, that's false. It's just business. It is what it is. There's nothing you can do about it now, though."
As far as I can tell he thought he'd get a much bigger deal in FA when the Sox offered him 300 million, the Sox traded him to get value because they weren't going to match beyond their 300 million offer - and then Covid hit and with all the uncertainty in the world he took a similar deal to what he was originally offered. I don't think its that complicated. All seem like rational actors from my perspective.
 
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Mr. Stinky Esq.

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As far as I can tell he thought he'd get a much bigger deal in FA when the Sox offered him 300 million, the Sox traded him to get value because they weren't going to match beyond their 300 million offer - and then Covid hit and he took a similar deal to what he was offered. I don't think its that complicated.
I think this is the most accurate distillation of how things turned out the way they did. Sad to see him go but every actor involved made rational choices in the moments they were made.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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Here's the key quote:



I've heard tons of "he didn't want to be here" nonsense and he specifically refutes that.
I don't know. It's great that he says he wanted to be here, but he chose maximizing money over staying in Boston. In the end, he wanted that more than he wanted to remain where he was. Because he was clear about this, the Sox chose to go in a different direction.

It's not a simple, binary choice. We hear all the time that Player A got offered more elsewhere, but chose to stay where they were comfortable, or felt loyalty to, or where they got their start. Mookie always said it would be about the money, and he stuck to his word. Lots of people in many professions choose loyalty/familiarity/comfort over money, but Mookie Betts doesn't appear to be one of them. I don't think it's unfair to say that staying in Boston was never the most important factor for him.
 

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I don't know. It's great that he says he wanted to be here, but he chose maximizing money over staying in Boston. In the end, he wanted that more than he wanted to remain where he was. Because he was clear about this, the Sox chose to go in a different direction.

It's not a simple, binary choice. We hear all the time that Player A got offered more elsewhere, but chose to stay where they were comfortable, or felt loyalty to, or where they got their start. Mookie always said it would be about the money, and he stuck to his word. Lots of people in many professions choose loyalty/familiarity/comfort over money, but Mookie Betts doesn't appear to be one of them. I don't think it's unfair to say that staying in Boston was never the most important factor for him.
I think he was clear about that from the beginning, that getting FA money as a player in the open market in order to raise the water level for younger players behind him, was the most important thing to him.

I remember reading a story around the time he became a FA, about his rookie season. He had gotten called up and in one of his first days with the team he took a short nap in the locker room before a game. Jon Lester (and perhaps other vets) came up to him and sternly told him "We don't do that here, it's the big leagues" etc. Mookie mentioned later that he felt unwelcomed to the big club in his first stint, that he was relieved to be sent back down again, and that he resolved he would try to make things better for younger players when he was a vet. I suspect that his stance on seeing FA money may have been a part of that.
 

tbb345

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Sounds like he misses Boston TBH.





As far as I can tell he thought he'd get a much bigger deal in FA when the Sox offered him 300 million, the Sox traded him to get value because they weren't going to match beyond their 300 million offer - and then Covid hit and with all the uncertainty in the world he took a similar deal to what he was originally offered. I don't think its that complicated. All seem like rational actors from my perspective.
Yeah I think this nails it. If the Red Sox had kept him until COVID hit, I think he would still be here and would have signed a deal very similar to what they originally offered.
However, I don’t think anyone had planned for COVID so I don’t blame them trading him away thinking that he was going to go to FA no matter what.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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It's a bit of a poison pill, at least with the Red Sox and other analytically oriented teams, to take the stance that you will go to the highest bidder. I'm trying to remember the last time the Sox got into a high stakes bidding war, but it seems the sort of thing that money conscious teams try to avoid. Once Mookie made it clear that's how it would play out with him, and the Sox knew they'd end up paying 37-38 year old Mookie north of $30 million, hell, even I knew we were probably out at that point.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I think he was clear about that from the beginning, that getting FA money as a player in the open market in order to raise the water level for younger players behind him, was the most important thing to him.

I remember reading a story around the time he became a FA, about his rookie season. He had gotten called up and in one of his first days with the team he took a short nap in the locker room before a game. Jon Lester (and perhaps other vets) came up to him and sternly told him "We don't do that here, it's the big leagues" etc. Mookie mentioned later that he felt unwelcomed to the big club in his first stint, that he was relieved to be sent back down again, and that he resolved he would try to make things better for younger players when he was a vet. I suspect that his stance on seeing FA money may have been a part of that.
Yes, all of that is covered in depth in Alex Speier’s excellent book, Homegrown. I don’t specially recall a Lester being mentioned, though.

Mookie’s doing great, it’s no surprise that he misses Boston to some extent- it’s where he was drafted and made it to the bigs and won his first ring, will always be some nostalgia.

Sox and Mookie each made decisions that they thought were in their best interests. That’s business, doesn’t seem like there needs to be any animosity on either side (or from fans), but fans aren’t always rational.

It’s fantastic the Sox had all that young talent come up at a certain time and was able to supplement it with high priced contributors like Sale, Price, etc but it was always inevitable that they weren’t all going to stay together.

In an alternate world, could the Sox have slipped on Price, won a championship anyways, and kept Mookie? Perhaps but you can really only make the best decisions you can with the best info you have at the time.
 

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Baseball works like this. Talented players end up getting paid a lot of money for "sub par" years. Players like Cabrera on the Tigers, Pujols on the Angels. Some times those deals start out looking good but there are always extra years. The only way to fix this is to start paying players sooner, and that is not happening. Or have a salary cap so teams have to manage around (plus not fully guaranteed contracts maybe) which is also not happening.

The reason I say this is that once Mookie decided he was not signing a long term deal until he was eligible for FA and once he had in mind his number, the Sox were out. The Sox view it as a business decision. But a not small part in me disagrees. At some point, a franchise that is flush with money, has such a great fan base, controls their own RSN, etc. has to sign this player. When they hit it with a home grown player that may be a generational talent they have to sign him They cannot be a version of the small market team that lets them go. That's what hurt me about the Mookie trade. It's not like when they lost out to Texeira, or or even Contreras.

That being said, I am very happy for Mookie. I am also happy that he in no way resents Boston.

At some point in the future someone here (or whatever SOSH becomes then) will write about how terrible it is that the Dodgers still owe Mooike X amount over X years. And someone will then say "See, they made the right decision in trading him"
 

BigSoxFan

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I thought I was over this departure and now I’m sad again…

Doesn’t help that the return looks to be pretty blah given Downs’ stock has really fallen and Verdugo has taken a step back this year.

But I’m glad Mookie went to an NL juggernaut. We may need him to be the last line of defense against an MFY title.
 

chrisfont9

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In 2019, the largest contracts were Trout at $426m, then Harper at $330m, then Stanton at $325, then Machado at $300m. In that market, "Machado money" for a guy who was an MVP, WS champion and clearly in the Harper/Stanton class if not superior, that's a lowball. I guess it's a question of whether he was impressed by the total dollars of $365m (AAV be damned) or whether COVID had everyone rattled enough to just go with it.
 

Kliq

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I understand that at the time, given the respective long-term contracts each franchise had on the books, it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. But it's kind of strange that the Red Sox saw giving Mookie that big of a contract as a poor business move; and then he went and signed the big contract that was given to him by the consensus model franchise in baseball; someone the Red Sox have not been shy about wanting to copy themselves after.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think it was pretty clear he wanted to play for one of the big market teams AND it to be either NY or LA. Maybe Cubs? The guy is a superstar and while Boston has a disproportionate love ratio when it comes to population to MLB players..... it just doesn't have the glamor and allure the LA or NY does and it's always going to be a little sticking point when it comes to transcendent star athletes.
I think both X and Devers are stars... they don't have that transcendent quality that Mookie has. Don't think there's a stat for it but being a damned good looking dude doesn't hurt.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I understand that at the time, given the respective long-term contracts each franchise had on the books, it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. But it's kind of strange that the Red Sox saw giving Mookie that big of a contract as a poor business move; and then he went and signed the big contract that was given to him by the consensus model franchise in baseball; someone the Red Sox have not been shy about wanting to copy themselves after.
You note that it's not apples to apples- but I think the biggest issue here was on timing. Sox were connected to several big contracts that weren't producing (at all- Pedroia, Fat Panda) or overvalued and injured (Sale) or wanting to be rid of for a variety of reasons despite WS heroics a year earlier (Price). I don't think they could have offered anyone what market value was determining. Going forward into the future they don't have those excuses anymore.
 

Kliq

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I think it was pretty clear he wanted to play for one of the big market teams AND it to be either NY or LA. Maybe Cubs? The guy is a superstar and while Boston has a disproportionate love ratio when it comes to population to MLB players..... it just doesn't have the glamor and allure the LA or NY does and it's always going to be a little sticking point when it comes to transcendent star athletes.
I think both X and Devers are stars... they don't have that transcendent quality that Mookie has. Don't think there's a stat for it but being a damned good looking dude doesn't hurt.
I see zero evidence that Mookie HAD to play in one of only two markets because he saw himself as a star.
 

chrisfont9

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I understand that at the time, given the respective long-term contracts each franchise had on the books, it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. But it's kind of strange that the Red Sox saw giving Mookie that big of a contract as a poor business move; and then he went and signed the big contract that was given to him by the consensus model franchise in baseball; someone the Red Sox have not been shy about wanting to copy themselves after.
If you mean why did the Dodgers and their model franchise offer Mookie a deal that the Sox felt was bad business, I'd say probably because at the time they hadn't won a championship since 1988 so they paid for a star for short term gains, knowing that the out years could be bad.

IMO the Dodgers' farm system is a model for other teams, but that's really about it. They've squandered several legit title chances putting way too much faith in guys like Kershaw and Kenley, who peaked six years ago.
 

tims4wins

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Honestly I think the Dodgers got a deal due to Covid that wouldn't have necessarily happened in a true open market scenario.
 

trekfan55

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Honestly I think the Dodgers got a deal due to Covid that wouldn't have necessarily happened in a true open market scenario.
At some point this will be proven right, I think.

Betts wanted to test the open FA market. And he knows that had Covid not happened his agent takes that offer from the Dodgers and finds an even bigger one (or uses the "phantom team" to drive the price up). The lucky factor for him is that he was traded to the Dodgers and found a perfect storm of a team that had not won a WS since 1988, was hungry for one, had "room" on its payroll, and deep pockets. OTOH, not too many teams would have taken on Price either so...
 

Yelling At Clouds

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IMO the Dodgers' farm system is a model for other teams, but that's really about it. They've squandered several legit title chances putting way too much faith in guys like Kershaw and Kenley, who peaked six years ago.
To be fair, they did lose a seven-game WS to a team we now know was cheating.
 

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Free agency is one of those things where if you have a franchise player like Mookie, some team is going to vastly overpay to bring him aboard once he hits free agency. There's always some team that will come in with some blow the doors off the hinges type offer. Its kind of how we got Manny.

The trick is to convince the player before he hits the open market to stick with the team. You do that by making a good offer (with some level of overpaying) and convince the player (and hopefully his agent) that he's not going to get a much better offer on the open market.

The Sox didn't do that with Betts... but they did it with Sale.

That's a tough thing to sell to a fanbase especially when you let a popular home-grown player go for cap reasons.
 

chawson

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I think the FO made a bet that a 5’9” player would break down sooner over the life of a mega-contract than another player who put up the same stats would. He’s having a phenomenal year, but I think there’s something to that. Mookie’s defensive slide and his nagging hip issues at age-28 have somewhat validated that concern.

I think the Mookie, JBJ and Benintendi-type players were drafted and developed with a different game in mind — the kind of post-steroid era, speed-and-defense league in the early/mid 2010s. In a juiced ball era, hyperathletic players seem to lose a little value, I think.

All that said, I still would be happy had we signed him at his current deal.
 

glennhoffmania

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Hmm, in the end he signed a deal that was essentially 12/300, $25M per year, once you factor in all the deferred money. We'll never know what would have happened without Covid uncertainty at the time, but it feels like he could have beaten that if all he cared about was the biggest deal (a la Cano to SEA).
That could be, but we've seen over the years that some players seem to care more about the headline numbers than the present value. Also Mookie never reached free agency
 

snowmanny

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Free agency is one of those things where if you have a franchise player like Mookie, some team is going to vastly overpay to bring him aboard once he hits free agency. There's always some team that will come in with some blow the doors off the hinges type offer. Its kind of how we got Manny.

The trick is to convince the player before he hits the open market to stick with the team. You do that by making a good offer (with some level of overpaying) and convince the player (and hopefully his agent) that he's not going to get a much better offer on the open market.

The Sox didn't do that with Betts... but they did it with Sale.

That's a tough thing to sell to a fanbase especially when you let a popular home-grown player go for cap reasons.
Right. And big market teams like the Red Sox are always going to have high payrolls. This is not the Rays or the A's getting rid of players to avoid paying them; they are going to pay somebody. That money is going somewhere. If it's not Lester it is Price. If it is not Bogaerts it is Story. One way or another John Henry is spending $220,000,000, which means you are going to have some high-priced talent. I have my preferences but they obviously have their own ideas.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I’m not… but I think to discount my suspension that Betts had superstar LA dreams that wasn’t happening in most cities is also ignoring some evidence
 

teddywingman

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Good business decision by everyone.

You all would do the same.
Not sure about that. There are a significant number of people (myself included) that have been less interested in the team since Mookie was traded. I'm not sure if revenue is down as a result, but I know revenue is down, and it might stay that way for a while.
 

Van Everyman

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Not sure about that. There are a significant number of people (myself included) that have been less interested in the team since Mookie was traded. I'm not sure if revenue is down as a result, but I know revenue is down, and it might stay that way for a while.
If you weren’t interested in last year’s team because you were still mad about Betts, I’m not sure what to say. I loved Mookie too, was terribly disappointed we traded him and hate seeing him for the Dodgers. But when this team is fun, they’re fun. Mookie or no Mookie.
 

patinorange

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Not sure about that. There are a significant number of people (myself included) that have been less interested in the team since Mookie was traded. I'm not sure if revenue is down as a result, but I know revenue is down, and it might stay that way for a while.
It was a colossal failure not to do what needed to be done to keep Mookie. It should have been taken care of long before Bloom arrived. Ownership screwed up.
 

teddywingman

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If you weren’t interested in last year’s team because you were still mad about Betts, I’m not sure what to say. I loved Mookie too, was terribly disappointed we traded him and hate seeing him for the Dodgers. But when this team is fun, they’re fun. Mookie or no Mookie.
I watched the post season. It was a good run. But neither me or any members of my baseball loving family felt the need to make the annual trip to the ballpark.

Yes, of course there were other factors, but I can't remember a year in which none of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, etc, didn't attend a single game. Lot of empty seats these days.
 

Jordu

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Not sure about that. There are a significant number of people (myself included) that have been less interested in the team since Mookie was traded. I'm not sure if revenue is down as a result, but I know revenue is down, and it might stay that way for a while.
I paid money to go to Fenway to see Mookie Betts play baseball. If they sold tickets that somehow only allowed you to watch Mookie, I’d happily buy them.
 

teddywingman

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I paid money to go to Fenway to see Mookie Betts play baseball. If they sold tickets that somehow only allowed you to watch Mookie, I’d happily buy them.
Yep. I'd pay to watch him bowl.

And without question, my family spent more money going to Fenway during the Mookie/Beni/Bradley years than any years since the mid aughts.
 

Van Everyman

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I mean, I get it. That team was super likable. But it wasn’t all Mookie. Xander and Devers are equally as likable. And they’re still here.
 

Jordu

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I mean, I get it. That team was super likable. But it wasn’t all Mookie. Xander and Devers are equally as likable. And they’re still here.
Yes, Xander and Devers are great ballplayers and appealing personalities. Mookie is at a level above them. Watching Mookie play was as close as we of this generation can get to seeing a Willie Mays-type talent.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Players come and go, always have, always will. Not being as interested in the team because Mookie’s gone seems silly to me, unless you are a child and don’t understand how these things work. (maybe that’s a little harsh, but it’s been a few years now…)

Like, the playoffs last year were pretty thrilling, at no point did I think “boy, I miss Mookie”. They wanted to keep him around, offered him a fair deal, he rejected at as per his right, got traded, and life goes on. Things happen, I don’t think anyone is really to blame.
 

radsoxfan

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Dodgers got a great deal on Mookie, certainly as far as 12 year contracts go.

His contract was backloaded and significantly deferred, "only" valued at 306M compared to the 365M reported.

I wonder if the Red Sox knew they could get the rest of Mookie's career for 306M they would have kept him.
 

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27,452
6 miles from Angel Stadium
Players come and go, always have, always will. Not being as interested in the team because Mookie’s gone seems silly to me, unless you are a child and don’t understand how these things work. (maybe that’s a little harsh, but it’s been a few years now…)

Like, the playoffs last year were pretty thrilling, at no point did I think “boy, I miss Mookie”. They wanted to keep him around, offered him a fair deal, he rejected at as per his right, got traded, and life goes on. Things happen, I don’t think anyone is really to blame.
I still miss Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn.