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Mookie Betts’ competitive streak keeps him going

Betts doesn’t always consider himself a star, but it’s that drive to always be better that makes him one.

92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Mookie Betts’ teammates can’t say enough good things about him, on and off the field, but Betts himself is skeptical of his own performance.

“He’s not OK with just being one of the guys,” said Ron Roenicke, a special assistant in the Dodgers’ front office and Betts’ bench coach in Boston.

“He still doesn’t think he’s very good,” said David Price. During Betts’ first season in Los Angeles, Price encouraged Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to tell Betts how much he meant to the team.

Despite the praise, Betts’ greatest competition continues to be himself.

“I was just in my own head,” he said of his 2021 performance, during which he dealt with hip issues and played in 122 games. “People play through injuries all the time and are successful all the time. But that injury, though it did hurt, it only hurt running. It didn’t hurt hitting. Hitting was all a me thing.”

To help manage mental hurdles like that, Betts said he listens to audiobooks like Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, a marathon runner and former Navy SEAL, and Will, a memoir by actor Will Smith.

So far, it seems to be working. Betts has 20 home runs this season, the most of any Dodger by far, and a .523 slugging percentage, just behind Freddie Freeman.

Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times has more on Betts’ competitive nature.

Dodgers Links

Clayton Kershaw may have had the time of his life at the All-Star Game yesterday, writes Jim Alexander of the OC Register.

Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated penned an ode to the Dodger Dog, the best-selling hot dog in baseball.

Terry Collins, the Dodgers’ former director of player development, will have a section of the High-A Great Lakes Loons’ stadium named after him in recognition of his role in connecting the team with the Dodgers, writes Hugh Bernreuter at Michigan Live.