Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Wednesday that he hopes Mookie Betts “falls in love with the team, the city, the fans, and wants to be here for a long time.”
In covering the arrival of the All-Star right fielder, alongside pitcher David Price, it seems the Los Angeles media has already fallen in love with him.
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) February 13, 2020
The front page of the Los Angeles Times’ sports section was dedicated to the pair, with a full-page side profile of Betts filling up the page above the fold, leaving room for the start of two stories – and a thumbnail photo of Price – on the lower third.
For L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke, it’s more than the fact that Betts is “one of the top five players in baseball.” It’s that the 27-year-old appeared at his introductory press conference wearing a black sweatshirt with “Dad” written on the front, black sweatpants, and untied sneakers, smiling and nodding.
“Among a parade of big Dodgers acquisitions in the last dozen years, he’s not the menacing Manny Machado or towering Yu Darvish or foreboding Adrian Gonzalez or nutty Manny Ramirez,” Plaschke wrote. “He’s a Nashville kid unafraid to admit Hollywood might be a little out of his element.”
The Los Angeles Daily News, meanwhile, took a look the role Betts could play for the Dodgers, who are heading into camp Thursday without a championship for the 32nd spring in a row, but with a superstar player they traded for “while sacrificing almost nothing.”
“It will almost certainly be a smooth transition, adding an air of excitement to a spring camp that could have ‘same ol’, same ol” with so many familiar faces still in place,” wrote Bill Plunkett as part of a Dodgers spring training preview. “The arrival of Betts and Price should cut down on the questions about last fall’s early playoff exit and the winter’s revelations surrounding the Astros sign-stealing scandal.”
ABC7 streamed the entirety of the pair’s introductory press conference live on Twitter.
— AM 570 LA Sports (@AM570LASports) February 12, 2020
Dodgers reporter David Vassegh, who is a Dodgers reporter for MLB Network and hosts “Dodger Talk” on L.A.’s AM 570, said the Mookie Betts trade was “good news that Los Angeles has sorely needed” after Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.
“That is real life, this is sports,” Vassegh said. “It’s a great distraction and Los Angeles is really excited that this really has come to fruition.”