Betts: Didn’t expect praise for feeding homeless
LOS ANGELES — Mookie Betts figures he should always use his baseball success to give back to the world.
Even in the middle of the World Series.
The Boston Red Sox slugger was surprised to find himself in the spotlight this week for a late-night good deed. A few hours after the Red Sox won Game 2 on Wednesday night , Betts and his cousin were spotted providing hot meals to the homeless outside the Boston Public Library, braving temperatures in the 30s to feed dozens of people.
Former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, now a radio host on WEEI, was tipped off about Betts’ distribution of several trays of hot food. Merloni publicized the good deed on social media , leading to widespread acclaim for the probable AL MVP.
“It’s pretty cool,” Betts said in the Dodger Stadium visitors’ dugout before Game 3 on Friday. “I’ve been blessed with everything I have, and I might as well share it.”
Betts, who batted .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBI during the regular season, never intended for anyone to find out about his good work in the community. He and his cousin went out in hoodies with no fanfare, providing steak tips and chicken to anyone trying to make it through Massachusetts’ brutal cold.
Betts simply feels an obligation to do what he can, whenever he can, for the less fortunate.
“It’s not the first time I’ve done it,” Betts said. “It wasn’t supposed to get (the attention) it got.”
Betts is taking care of his work on the field as well after a slow start to the postseason at the plate. The 26-year-old outfielder went 4 for 8 in the first two games of his first World Series, boosting his postseason average to .255.
Betts also fed untold thousands in a decidedly different way Tuesday: By stealing a base in the World Series opener , Betts triggered Taco Bell’s famed “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion, providing everybody in the country with one free taco available Nov. 1.
Betts’ charitable nature even caught the attention of Hank Aaron. The Hall of Famer was in Los Angeles to present the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the player selected as the best hitter in each league — to Boston’s J.D. Martinez and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.
“No question about it, yes, he’s a role model,” Aaron said of Betts. “When you think about who he is, where he is, he certainly is a role model.”
Whether it’s good food or good fortune, Betts said he has one rule.
“Don’t waste it,” Betts said. “That’s what my dad told me: don’t waste it.”
AP freelance reporter Jolene Latimer contributed.
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