Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts has been off to a slow start to 2019 and he’s taking full responsibility for his and the team’s poor performance so far.
We can all admit that this season has not been quite what we’d hoped it would be at this point. The Red Sox were coming off of a high in 2018 not only setting a franchise record for wins at 108 but also bringing home the Commissioner’s Trophy. This season was supposed to be a continuation of the dominance but halfway through April, it’s been everything but dominant.
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After another devastating loss on Monday, reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts spoke to the media and was incredibly candid and honest about not only his play but the team as a whole. He didn’t hold anything back and took a great step forward in my eyes as the leader of this Red Sox team.
"“Basically what I’m doing is unacceptable,” said Betts, the 2018 AL MVP. “I have to figure out a way to get something done and to help the team.”"
That takes a lot of guts and insight to be able to stand up in front of everyone and admit that you aren’t carrying your weight. Not many people will go ahead and honestly say when they aren’t doing everything they can while not even thinking of giving an excuse. This is why this team sinks and rises with the tide that is Mookie Betts. He has become the heart and soul of the squad much like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in the past. He’s the guy that everyone looks to get the team fired up and get the energy flowing.
"“I wouldn’t say there’s more pressure (because the entire offense is struggling),” Betts said. “There’s been many times where I can kind of help score some runs or do something and I haven’t done it. So I take full ownership of that.”"
This 2019 version of the Red Sox bares nothing in common with the team of 2018 beyond the names on the uniforms. It all starts and ends with the team in the lineup each night and if everyone takes a page from Mookie and looks inward we may see a turnaround before it’s too late. It’s hard to believe that we’re watching the same team from last year. It feels as if the air was let out of the balloon and the candle was blown out.
"“Not sure about anything,” Betts said. “I think we’ve all been kind of watching the same game. It’s tough having so much success last year and not really having any right now. But I just have to continue to work to get out of it.”"
But with the bad times, there is always an opportunity for the rebound and for a phoenix to rise from the ashes. The Red Sox have plenty of baseball left to play and have a key series with the Yankees starting on Tuesday afternoon. Chris Sale will be taking the mound for Boston looking to shake off his early season failures in an attempt to recapture the pitcher he was through his career.
While speaking to the media today Mookie did something that not many do when the times are tough. He didn’t speak of ‘we’ or the ‘team,’ he put the entire blame on himself. He may not wear the “C” on his jersey but he sure as hell exemplifies the character of a team captain. He knows what his skills and talents are as well as what he means to this team. He fully takes the responsibility of not only the team playing poorly but also finding themselves again.
"“Obviously, the outside looking in, it looks pretty far,” Betts said. “In the inside, it just seems like we’re a hit or two away from scoring some runs. Maybe a bounce here or there. But for sure I have to do something, especially from the top of the lineup.”"
There is plenty of season left on the calendar and a team with this level of talent won’t stay down for too much longer. Especially with players that carry the mentality of Mookie and will do whatever they have to do to help the team succeed. With a trip to Yankee Stadium directly in the path of the Red Sox, they’ll need to find whatever it is they’re looking for and find it fast.