It has all worked out pretty well for Mookie Betts.
The outfielder is living the good life with perhaps Major League Baseball's best team, the Dodgers, currently sitting in the pole position for National League MVP thanks to an out-of-this-world start to the 2022 season.
There is performance still existing in rarefied air. There are all those wins just two seasons off of his second world championship. And, of course, there is that 12-year, $365 million contract.
But, sitting down in the visitors' dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field Tuesday, it is clear that what he left behind a few years before in Boston still is top-of-mind. That's where it all started. That's where it gained all that momentum. And that's where his departure will be debated for years to come.
"I just don't want anybody, especially when I go back, man, I don't want it to be like it was hatred or I didn't want to be there," Betts said when asked on the Bradfo Sho podcast if he had a message for Red Sox fans. "I loved everybody in Boston. I loved it. That was the best time of my life. Obviously, it's a new chapter now and I've got to live where my feet are, but I'll never forget all those memories, all those fans, and all the things I did in Boston, all the people, that was my life. It's something I'll never forget. Every time I go back to Boston, I'll go back to all the places I used to go to and see all the people I used to see, and just tell everybody how loved (I felt) and thank everybody for the opportunity, the cheers, the boos, the happiness, the crying, the ups and … everything man. It was a great time in my life and I want to thank everybody for that."
Betts' exit from the Red Sox has been well-documented since the 2020 trade that sent him to the Dodgers in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs.