Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts is known mostly for his five All-Star appearances, AL MVP and two World Series titles, but it was his thoughtfulness that stole the show on Sunday in Cincinnati.
It all started when Reds rookie T.J. Friedl led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run into the right-field seats for his first MLB hit in just his second at-bat. Soon after, Betts asked Michael Diddle, the fan who caught the ball, to throw it back so that the team could commemorate Friedl's first hit, according to The Athletic.
Not only did Diddle oblige, but Betts said he immediately returned the ball without asking for anything in return. Betts, who remembered that Friedl had made his debut on Saturday, said he was so moved by the fan's willingness to help that he gave him a signed bat when he returned to right field the following inning.
"Those type of interactions are kind of everlasting," Betts said after the game. "One of the last times I talked to Kobe [Bryant] he just reminded me by the time the game is over, leave somebody [happy], somebody knows who you are, somebody recognizes you.
"... I wasn’t really doing it for cameras or anything. I was just doing it because he immediately threw the ball back and didn’t give even ask her anything."
Friedl said he didn't realize how the ball had been retrieved until the next inning when he saw Betts running into right field with a bat.
"That’s just first-class. It’s incredible, just for him to do something like that is definitely just world class out of him,” Friedl said. "I want to go over there and just say thank you in person, because it means so much. Just to get that ball back and for it to be my first home run. And just for him to know that and turn around to the fan, and I believe he traded a bat for it.
"... I turned around and saw Mookie running out with the bat into the outfield. Chills, honestly for him to do that."
As if there weren't enough warm, fuzzy feelings at the Great American Ball Park, Diddle put the cherry on top by giving the bat—at least for a picture if not as a gift—to a young Dodgers fan wearing a Betts shirt. It doesn't get much more wholesome than that.
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