Mookie Betts is in the World Series, but not as a player. “I have to do better no matter what.”

Mookie Betts jokes with Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks during batting practice on Oct. 30, 2023, in Phoenix.

Mookie Betts wore a smile to the World Series. He was standing behind the batting cage at Chase Field, barely more than two weeks after DodgersThe season ended unceremoniously on this field.

Major League Baseball invited him to Game 3 here on Monday to give his cable channel and social media platforms a behind-the-scenes look and insight. His interest in postseason play didn’t wane when his team was eliminated.

“I’m definitely looking at them,” Betts said. “I’m at a bowling alley all the time when the games are on. This is part of my identity. Many of these people are my friends. These are life relationships that you build through playing baseball.

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“Of course I want to play and win, right? But if it’s not your turn, that’s okay. I want my boys to be successful too.”

Betts won a World Series championship ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and with the Dodgers in 2020. He and Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves are expected to be the top two finishers in the National League’s Most Valuable Player voting.

However, for the second consecutive October, the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs by an NL West rival they had dominated in the regular season – the San Diego Padres last year. the Diamondbacks this year. Betts says he thinks the Dodgers are investigating why a team that thrived in the summer wilted in the fall.

“There are probably a million people who know all the answers. I’m sure someone is right,” he said. “But I don’t know what those answers are.

“I just know that I have to do better for myself. That’s pretty much it. I have to do better no matter what.”

Betts remained hitless in 11 at-bats as the Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers in three games. The Dodgers batted .177 and scored six runs.

Mookie Betts of the Dodgers walks to the dugout after striking out in Game 3 against the Arizona Diamondbacks on October 11, 2023.

Mookie Betts walks to the dugout after pitching in the Dodgers’ Game 3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series on Oct. 11. Betts went 0 for 11 in the series. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

The three teams that won 100 games this season — the Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles — were all eliminated in the division series after earning a first-round bye. Are five days of rest too much??

“You can argue that there are advantages here and disadvantages in other places,” Betts said. “At the end of the day, no matter what happens, there is no excuse. You have to go play no matter what and let the chips fall where they may.”

Betts said he hoped major league teams would do so Consider signing former Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer this winter.

“It’s something to think about,” Betts said.

Bauer served a suspension last winter for violating baseball’s policies on domestic violence and sexual assault. An independent arbitrator heard Bauer’s testimony and reviewed the league’s investigation. He subsequently concluded that Bauer had indeed violated the policy, but reduced the suspension from two years to 194 games, still the longest imposed under the policy.

The Dodgers then released him and said he would “no longer be a part of our organization.” No other MLB team signed him and he was a pitcher in Japan. Several women have accused him of sexual assault, but he has not been accused of any crime.

“My experience with Bauer is not remotely comparable to anyone else’s experience. I love him. I think he’s a great guy. The personal things? I have no control. I have no say. Apparently nothing ever came of it.

“He’s a great pitcher. He’s a great guy, someone who wants to take the mound every fifth day. But at the end of the day, I don’t make the decision. This is a decision that is not as easy as baseball.”

Betts’ contract with the Dodgers runs through the 2032 season. He turns 40 this year.

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He has launched a video and podcast series, his own YouTube channel, and a media company that develops television and film projects.

He said he didn’t want his playing career to end without a plan for next steps. His appearance here on Monday marked another step into his next phase.

“My wife’s like, ‘You’re going to have a midlife crisis when you’re done playing and you’re not going to know how to deal with it,'” Betts said. “When you hear something like that, it took me a while to register it.

“Of course I care about my job, right? But you also have to take time to prepare for the next phase of your life. I don’t want to have this mid-life crisis.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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