BOSTON (CBS) — Friends and family probably could have predicted a career in baseball for Mookie Betts by just looking at his full name: Markus Lynn Betts.
With M.L.B. as his initials, how could you not see it coming? At least that’s what his mother tells everyone.
“My mom said she did it on purpose, but there’s no way she did it on purpose,” Betts told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton in an exclusive interview ahead of the postseason. “But whatever. You’ll take it, right? I’ll take it.”
You only have to talk to the Boston slugger for a moment to understand what both of his parents mean to him. They laid the groundwork for his career, and it was much more than just his name.
“I could be here for days explaining what my mom has done for me and how much she means. She’s been there every step of the way. She always made sure she made time to come to games or to help me do homework.”
Mookie’s mother, Diana Benedict, was even his first little league coach.
“She’d tell me, ‘Hey, we need an out,’ because I’m not sure we were very good. Whatever I needed to do; I’d field ground balls and run and touch first rather than throwing it,” Betts recalls. “She pitched. She did it all to make sure I was in the best position to be the best I could be.”
Betts’ father, Willie Betts, was also there to help Betts round the bases, going above and beyond to give his son the best opportunity to succeed.
“He’d build tents for parents to sit under from the sun. When it was cold, he brought warmers. When guys got hungry, he’d grill bologna after every game,” Betts said of his father. “That’s my guy. I want to be just like him as a father.”
Mookie will soon get his chance to emulate his dad in the fatherhood department. He’ll become a father himself in November.
“I’m kinda scare to see how it goes. I’ve talked to my mom and my dad — there is no blueprint. Just something you have to roll with,” he said. “However it goes, it goes. You have to be there for them.
“Obviously I have this thing going on,” he said pointing to the field at Fenway Park. “But I have to make sure I put this aside and make sure she’s OK too.”
Betts and his girlfriend, Bri, have already decided on the name Kinley for their bundle of joy.
“Took me about a week to pick that out,” he said. “I used the apps on the phone to come up with something.”
A November arrival is perfect, because Betts is a little busy at the moment. He and the Red Sox hope to be playing baseball late into October after losing in the ALDS in each of the last two seasons. Betts is coming off an MVP regular season, leading all of baseball with a .346 average while flirting with the triple crown. But he is still looking for his first postseason homer and RBI, and knows that October baseball is a much different beast.
“I haven’t had too much success in the playoffs,” he admitted. “I know this year is a different year, a different me. I just have to continue to do what I’ve been doing: Put in the work, and hopefully it translates to the game.
“If I don’t play well, it definitely won’t be from a lack of effort,” he added. “I’m going to do everything I can — everything I’ve been doing to be the best that I can be in the playoffs.”
Web Extra: Mookie On His Move To Outfield; MVP-Caliber Season
Betts is one of the faces of the Red Sox franchise, and will be for at least the next two seasons. His free agency in a few years has been a big topic as his star status has grown, but it couldn’t be further from Betts’ mind as the playoffs approach.
“I love Boston and I love being here. I’ve enjoyed every moment here. When that comes, that comes,” he said of hitting the open market. “Right now, I’m just enjoying the time I’m here. I love it, I love all the fans and I love the city.
“I just try to focus on one thing, one year a time,” he continued. “I’ll go from there and see what happens in the end.”
Betts’ focus right now is on the upcoming postseason, which gets underway for Boston Friday night with Game 1 of the ALDS.