Mookie Betts is a live wire, the most electric player in the World Series and perhaps in all of baseball. Just a few days ago, an exuberance blogger with access to the CMS posited that he replicates the experience of falling in love with the artistry of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio for generations who missed out on that magic. It continues to be abjectly insane that the Boston Red Sox watched all he can do on a daily basis and passed on the opportunity to use him for the purpose of winning games.
There's really no point in piling on now, though considering how Babe Ruth zingers are still flying they shouldn't hold their breath. But Sox brass can find company in the misery that comes with turning one's back on transcendent talent with a handful of Nashville area Little League teams bopping around near the turn of the last century.
In a story for the Los Angeles Times, Jorge Castillo describes the difficulties a 5-year-old Betts and his mother, Diana Collins, had in finding a team.
"Nobody wanted Mookie at the beginning of his baseball life. His mother took him to the local Little League in Nashville to sign him up when he was 5 years old. He was tiny. “Little bitty kid with little legs,” Collins said, and the format the league used to fill out team rosters didn’t help."
"Collins didn’t have any connections in the league so to get Mookie on a team she had to approach each coach asking if there was a spot available. The first two coaches told her there wasn’t any room for her son. But the third rejection angered her the most. The man looked at Mookie, Collins recently recalled, and told her he wanted bigger kids because he wanted his team to be competitive. By then, Mookie was crying. “Mom, I’m not going to be able to play,” Mookie told his mother. “No, you’re going to play,” Collins assured him."
Undeterred, Collins assembled a ragtag group of other young free agents on a new team. Real Little Giants vibes there. Or Mean Green. Or any number of feel-goodery. Complete with borderline unrealistic gameplay. Because it turns out Collins, in advance of a game against one of the coaches who stiff-armed Betts, told her son to simply go grab the ball wherever it was hit and get the out. Thus, he was running from right field to the infield to everywhere in between as a one-man wrecking crew.
In summation, the story rules. And the Dodgers should absolutely employ a similar strategy in interleague play against Boston. Make the whole team out of Mookie to really stick it to John Henry and the boys. This right here is a smart way to draw new eyeballs.