Mookie Betts has been revered for his show-stopping abilities in the outfield and at the plate, his standout skills in the bowling lanes and even for being a distant relative of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. But there is so much more to the reigning American League Most Valuable Player
Mookie Betts has been revered for his show-stopping abilities in the outfield and at the plate, his standout skills in the bowling lanes and even for being a distant relative of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. But there is so much more to the reigning American League Most Valuable Player who, at 26 years old, is just getting started.
You made your Major League debut five years ago. What do you remember about that day?
I remember the hotel, walking in like, "Wow." When I first got into the room, I was wondering where my roommate was, because you don’t have roommates here. My family came in [for the debut]. The morning of the game, we ordered breakfast at that hotel. I got eggs, bacon, some toast. [My girlfriend] Brianna was there. She got some fruit and eggs. My mom and dad were in different rooms. I just know that between the fruit, two orders of eggs, bacon and the order of toast, it was like $112. I was like, "I am never ordering food here again." That was the most memorable thing, other than baseball.
When you mentioned a roommate, you and Jackie Bradley Jr. were roommates in 2011 for instructional ball. What are your favorite roommate memories with Jackie?
Oh wow. So when I first walked in the room -- because I didn’t know who my roommate was -- and I saw him, I was like, “Hold on. I just watched you on TV.” This is all going through my head. You know when you first meet somebody, it’s that 10 seconds of awkward silence and then you speak? Well, yeah, in this 10 seconds I was like, “I just saw him on TV. I don’t know if this is him. Maybe it is.” Then after the 10 seconds was up, I was like, “Jackie?” He’s like, “Yeah.” He wouldn’t know who I was. We just talked. I just remember our room was like the video game room. After days were over, we’d be eight deep in our hotel room playing video games and all that type of stuff. It was every day, so we got some great bonding time with just me and him, and then obviously other people, too.
Who did you meet, and you couldn’t believe they knew who you were?
When I met Chris Rock. It was this year. ... It was this year in Toronto. We took a picture, and I guess he didn’t realize how small I was. That’s probably what it is. People, they may know, but they’re like, “That’s not him, because he’s so small.” … Me and [Betts’ friend] Cam were going to eat, walking out [of the hotel], and he was walking in. We crossed paths in the hotel lobby. We walked, and then it was like that 10 seconds of awkward silence again. I walked by, I looked at him. He stopped and looked at me. We looked at Cam. Cam looked at me. It was like, “Hold on.” Then I just said, “I don’t want to cause anything. Can we take a picture?” The front desk took the picture. I guess they said, "Is there anything else you guys need?" I think they actually said my name, and that’s when he put two and two together at that point.
What is the coolest vacation you’ve been on?
My sister’s wedding [in 2016]. I was in her wedding, and we went to Jamaica. That was probably one of the best trips. We did all of the activities, I think that was what made it. [We did] parasailing. I don’t know if it was snorkeling -- I don’t really know what it was -- we went out into, I don’t know where we were. We would go and stop in the middle, and there was no land around us. We were able to stand up and everything. Then we went to this one area where the water’s cold -- it’s winter time, obviously -- and then you go into this one little area and the water’s just hot. We did that. There was one part of the water where it was dark, you got in, and when you got in the water, it lit up. I guess motion in the water makes it light up. The tour guide completely said, “Forget the tour.” He was having fun with us. So we went on this little island or whatever and just saw the culture and everything. There was a big old party out on the island. That was probably the best vacay I’ve been on.
During a game, what do you have to wear?
These two necklaces. [This is] my dad’s necklace that I always wear. He gave it to me back in high school. I never take it off. This necklace, I got last year, two years ago. A kid gave it to me, Griffin, he gave it to me. Griffin is from Paducah, Kentucky, which is where my mom is from. I don’t know how the dots connect. I just know my mom and his dad kind of know each other, because Paducah is a very small city. I just know he was there in Spring Training. I signed a ball, he gave me a necklace. I didn’t know what to do with the necklace, so I just put it on. Everybody loved it, so I kept it.
What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
TV show? Ooh. I’ve got a couple TV shows. Is this funny or serious? I’ll give you one and one. My favorite TV show is probably Power. That’s the serious one. Actually, I’ve got a couple. Orange is the New Black -- oh my gosh. That is a great TV show. Most people don’t know about it, but The Last O.G. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, with Tracy Morgan. That’s a great TV show. Those are my top three. I need another one. I don’t know which one to watch. I want to get into -- everybody watches it -- Game of Thrones. Everybody loves it.
Jessica Camerato covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato, Facebook and Instagram.