Did Dodgers’ Star Mookie Betts Ditch LeBron James and Lionel Messi to Battle It Out With Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr.?

Published 09/05/2023, 11:30 AM EDT

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The race for baseball’s MVP is heating up. While Shohei Ohtani stands as the sole top choice in the American League, there are quite a few worthy candidates in the National League this year. Fans can’t decide the best of the best, from Mookie Betts to Ronald Acuña Jr., and Freddie Freeman to Matt Olson. While two stars from the same Los Angeles team battle it out, another significant sports star recently came to the City of Angels.

Making his Inter-Miami debut in LA was Lionel Messi, who was up against reigning MLS Cup champion LAFC. The soccer legend’s games have seen several famous names in the audience before. But yesterday took the cake because it seemed all of Hollywood was out. And it was not just the entertainment industry, but the sports world. However, while Betts may have also been on the list, he ditched the biggest soccer game on the planet for baseball.

Mookie Betts Casts Aside Messi for Ronald Acuña Jr.


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The stars were out in Los Angeles yesterday, including the NBA’s LeBron James, who was part of an elite list of guests. Bleacher Report posted a list of the huge names that were invited to attend the Inter Miami game, and it’s eye-poppingly big. From Selena Gomez to LAFC part-owner Will Ferrell, Leonardo DiCaprio to Tom Holland, and even Meghan Markle, there was no shortage of massive stars. One of them was, of course, Mookie Betts.

But interestingly, the Dodgers’ star didn’t show up to the game at all. Even fellow teammate Clayton Kershaw was included but neither of them posted anything about the event on social media. Nor do any pictures or videos of them at the event exist online. One can only assume they wanted to focus on baseball, especially Betts, since the race for NL MVP is heating up.


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Interestingly, LeBron James is actually a huge baseball enthusiast and loves the Dodgers as well as Mookie Betts. The outfielder and the power forward have shared moments at Dodger Stadium before, and each respects the other. But clearly, when it comes to another sport, Betts would rather focus on MLB than MLS.


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Can Betts Actually Win NL MVP?

While it’s the last month of the season that determines who bags the MVP award in either league, many players have made a case for themselves. While Ronald Acuña Jr. has all but clinched the victory, Betts actually has a decent chance at winning too. The Atlanta Braves have dominated this season and are almost certain to make it to the World Series. On the other coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers won’t be left behind and are the other NL faves to make it to the Fall Classic.


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Looking at stats, Betts leads Acuña in home runs, RBI, slugging, OPS and WAR. On the other hand, the Braves slugger is ahead in hits, batting average, OBP, and stolen bases. It will be a close fight as fans root for their favorite players!

WATCH THIS STORY – Ronald Acuña Jr. Surges in MVP Race, While $162 Million Dodgers Star Yearns For Atlanta: Fans React


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