Mookie Betts had a glorious run with unsatisfying end in Boston

Mookie Betts trade makes Los Angeles Dodgers a World Series favorite

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It will be a summer to savor for Los Angeles Dodgers fans, rich beyond their dreams with MVPs playing alongside each other in the Dodger Stadium outfield, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger putting on five-tool clinics every night in pursuit of an elusive championship. 

Yet before we ponder the promise of Cody and Mookie and so much California love, it’s worthwhile to pause a moment and consider the Betts era in Boston — and why the three-team trade that marked its end Tuesday night symbolizes the best and worst of the game. 

Boston cannot ask anything more of Betts: He became an American League MVP and World Series champion there, a player far more dynamic and electrifying than any doddering slugger who sparked the Red Sox’s first three championships this century. 

It’s also instructive to ponder what Betts wasn’t — in Boston and beyond. 

He was loved at Fenway Park, though perhaps not revered. Such is life for an athlete whose career blossomed as David Ortiz’s was ending — and Big Papi would remain an outsized presence even in retirement. In another era, Betts might have owned Boston; in this one, he was another great athlete showering an embarrassment of championship riches on New England — Brady and Gronk and Papi and Mookie and Bergeron seamlessly blending one season into the next in a haze of Duck Boat celebrations.

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Mookie Betts won an MVP and World Series with the Red Sox.

He was known to baseball fans — but not in a manner befitting his greatness. 

For all the handwringing over Mike Trout’s inability to connect with fans on a national level, it is Betts’ relative lack of fame that should horrify baseball executives wondering how their grip on American culture loosened. 

Betts is not quite the player Trout is, but the difference between the two is a relative pittance to the casual fan. More significantly, Betts checks every box Trout does not. 

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