By Jaelen Ogadhoh | MLBbro.com Intern
Championships make MLBbro Mookie Betts smile. Puns? Not so much.
During a ceremony honoring the 2020 World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers at the White House on Friday, President Joe Biden delivered a speech congratulating the team — and Betts — on the victory.
“I’ve often said that it’s never a good idea to bet against the American people,” Biden said. “Well, now we know it’s never a good idea to ‘Bett’ against Mookie.”
Intentional or not, the pun received a few light chuckles from team members as Betts stood there looking as stoic as he does on the field. Maybe he’d heard that one before.
Biden continued, jokingly explaining that his chief strategist Mike Donilon, who is a die hard Red Sox fan, “didn’t want to talk to Mookie anymore” after he was traded away from the Red Sox last February.
This elicited somewhat of a smile from Betts, albeit a sheepish one that faded away quickly. After all, Betts never asked to leave Boston, he was shipped out for “financial reasons.”
When he wasn’t cracking jokes directed at the Dodgers’ star right fielder, the President spent most of the speech praising the reigning champs.
“The Dodgers are a lot more than a baseball club…they’re a pillar of American culture, and American progress,” Biden said, listing off some of the franchise’s biggest cultural icons including MLBbro pioneer Jackie Robinson.
Acknowledging the unique circumstances of last year’s season, Biden spoke to the role sports played in lifting people’s spirits during a difficult time.
“I think what we discovered is that we need sports more than we ever realized,” Biden said. “When we go through a crisis, very often sports bring us together to heal, to help us feel like things are going to be okay, they’re going to get better.”
The President continued to highlight the social impact sports can have, calling baseball “one of the great equalizers” before emphasizing his own commitment to leveling the playing field in America.
“What the Vice President [Kamala Harris] and I spent a lot of time working on making sure we do is deal with the equity in the United States, making sure that we change the dynamic in a fundamental way,” Biden said.
“Look what baseball has done,” he added. “Look at the makeup of this ballclub, the makeup of ball clubs all across the league…look at who’s managing this club,” Biden said, likely alluding to Dave Roberts, Dodgers manager and retired MLBbro.
The President even slipped in a reference to MLBbro royalty Satchel Paige, who never wore a Dodgers uniform but certainly embodies social impact.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) July 2, 2021
“It really means a lot to us that you’re here,” Biden said to the team, in closing. “It means a lot the kind of hope you give the American people. Don’t underestimate it guys.”
Biden and Harris posed in front of the team, holding their newly-gifted honorary Dodgers jerseys as photos were taken.
And yes — Betts did flash a smile for the cameras.