Ronald Acuña Jr. Dominates MVP Talks, but He Shows He’s No Mookie Betts with This Move

Published 09/10/2023, 9:30 AM EDT

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Ronald Acuña Jr. has held his own this season. The top favorite to win the National League’s Most Valuable Player title, the Atlanta Braves star has been in steep competition with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts. But in addition to his MVP-worthy performance, another series of incidents has kept him in the headlines. And it seems like he’s finally had enough.

The outfielder entered Saturday’s game as the league leader in hits, runs scored, total bases, and stolen bases. In a season that favored him, some pitchers have been trying to derail Acuña accidentally on purpose. After multiple hit-by-pitches, Acuña has kept his composure in games for the most part. But a recent game against the Pittsburgh Pirates ignited him.

Benches Clear as Ronald Acuña Jr. and Johan Oviedo Exchange Verbal Blows


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Tensions ran high during Braves vs. Pirates right from the first inning. Oviedo threw to Acuña but it ended up being an inside pitch that the slugger had to avoid by moving the middle part of his body away. Acuña glared at Oviedo after the ball was caught and the pitcher seemed equally incensed. Then words were exchanged as the home plate umpire tried to hold back Acuña from Oviedo.

Benches and bullpens cleared as both teams emptied out onto the field, backing up their team’s players. They were successful in isolating each player and no punches were thrown. Neither athlete received an ejection as both Acuña and Oviedo continued to play. But it was sure a heated moment between the two that has some questioning the Braves’ star’s MVP eligibility.


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Any awards that the MLB hands out are never just dependent on their performance on the diamond. Off-the-field behavior is taken into account as well and so far, Mookie Betts is one step ahead in this respect. While Ronald Acuña Jr.’s reaction might seem justified to many, it still loses him points in others’ eyes. Nevertheless, Atlanta’s manager Brian Snitker is in full support of Acuña.

Brian Snitker Was Surprised to See Acuña Finally Blow Up But Remained Supportive


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This was not the first incident of its kind but Acuña never retaliated against the pitcher in such an obvious manner before. However, he was not exactly fond of Oviedo’s pitch in the first inning almost hitting him. Acuña said through a translator, “Emotions just peaked.” And Snitker backing his player said, “He holds his composure pretty well and that’s the first time I’ve seen him react like that. I don’t blame him one bit. I don’t blame him for doing that.”

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Interestingly, the Pirates pitcher hit the Braves’ Austin Riley on his left arm in the fourth inning and the manager was furious. His argument with the ump got him ejected and Pittsburgh brutally defeated Atlanta 8-4.


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Nevertheless, the Braves maintain the first position in the NL East, even if their MVP candidate’s season doesn’t end favorably.

WATCH THIS STORY – Mookie Betts Leaves LeBron James and Messi To Face Off Against Ronald Acuna Jr.: A Star Showdown


Written by:

Arunima Bhanot


One take at a time

Arunima Bhanot is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Her tryst with MLB was accidental, but what followed was nothing short of a pursuit of excellence. Arunima's articles have been recognized as Editor's Picks on multiple occasions, highlighting her exceptional attention to detail and insightful coverage.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj