Boston fandom was understandably excited about the return of Mookie Betts to Fenway Park in late August, 2023, almost four years after his untimely and hurtful trade to the LA Dodgers. Did Mookie disappoint on that first visit back? Did Mookie ever disappoint? No and No. Mookie undermined the Red Sox with his batting and fielding at two positions in that memorable series. On this podcast Jordan Rich and I, both baseball fans forever, talk about Mookie the exemplary player and man, and I tell of the game of August 26 which Lois and I attended at the invitation of the Red Sox to their VIP box, where we ate a top drawer spread, and rooted for an unlikely tandem of both Mookie and the Red Sox.

Here is my description of that day, written later that day to a few dozen friends interested in what would unfold:

“To several of my very good friends who are interested in my quest to meet and honor Mookie Betts today:

“It seems communication between the Sox and Dodgers was not great, no program to honor Mookie was set up, and he himself had a tight schedule owing to his disciplined athleticism, and his meetings with a plethora of old friends. I’ll send directly to him at his home in LA the inscribed copy of my memoir, My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts.

“To say that Sox President Sam Kennedy and his associates made up for that in a great way is an understatement. Lois and I were invited to park in the players lot, were given a charming guide to the VIP Suite, which on the spacious inside was provided with an array of food and drink that wanted for nothing (lobster, fruits, cookies, ice cream, sushi, dogs, sausages, chicken, and that only starts the list). Stepping outside a grand view of Fenway Park from on high whetted one’s appetite for the game. And what a game it was! It had everything except a fight, and would have had that if Max Muncy had gotten to the ump’s throat. The Red Sox showed quality this day, as did the Dodgers and Mookie, albeit his well stroked drive to the warning track fell short for the final out. I had the best of both worlds, rooting for both the Sox and Mookie. No way to lose. The atmosphere at the park was like a festival, loud, enjoyable, all being happy. It turned out to be a day to remember. Even leaving driving slowly through the crowd I was chatting with fans, police officers, Fenway personnel. I would say baseball is still America’s game, at least the America I want to inhabit. The nonagenarian and octogenarian loved it!”

Not long after that I penned this letter to Mookie:

“Mookie Betts
Los Angeles, CA

Dear Mookie:

“I’m still quivering from the events of August 25-27. Your return to Fenway was sensational, and I was fortunate to attend the terrific Saturday game in the VIP suite with my wife, Lois (we celebrate our 60th in November), at the invitation of Sam Kennedy when the meeting with you I had requested to present this inscribed memoir, My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts, to you in person, could not be arranged. Had it taken place I would have read the inscription within to you verbatim.

“I have no idea whether you have ever seen it or heard my name. If you look at the last page you will see the letter, I wrote to you and fourteen others sent through Red Sox channels, well before your MVP 2018 season had unfolded. Please look at pages 58-59 to read an account of my prediction for your future written to Ben Cherington, and his same day reply, in August, 2014. Thank God on that occasion the Red Sox retained you. I don’t believe any other observer made such a prediction at that early stage. It was based on my view of your many talents on both sides of the ball, and the home run you stroked on August 25 in Toronto showing the striking force of your swing, nine years to the day before your return last Friday. I recall too the grand slam you hit a few days later in St. Petersburg. See too the picture of you and its caption taken when you ran down Josh Reddick’s drive in the 2017 AL Division Series.

“Along with millions of others in Red Sox Nation, your departure was a sad day. It still hurts. But we applaud, as you heard, your success here and in LA, and we hope your future there includes many more team and personal triumphs. It is wonderful to see you grow from a very young man, to a polished and thoughtful man of the world whom it seems always does ‘the right thing.’

“May God bless your life and those of your loved ones forever, Mookie.
With all good thoughts.”


Here is the signed and dated inscription for Mookie I wrote in the book:

“Mookie, I’m honored on this day to help the Red Sox celebrate your years of exemplary service as a player and man to the Red Sox and to the millions of fans, including me, in Red Sox Nation. Your play and person thrilled us every day.”

Thus, Mookie’s return to the city where he made his name was an adventure for him, and surely one for me and for Lois too, an adventure that I think has not ended. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this ongoing story.

People, always people!