Markus Lynn Betts – yes, the initials are MLB. We know him as Mookie. The fact that nickname was based on his mom’s sister’s name Cookie, notwithstanding.

The Boston Red Sox parted with Mookie, the Dodgers are the team he is with, they have signed him up for 12 years. He is an elite player. What the heck does that mean? Elite sounds ominous or snotty. It is meant to say he has qualities, talents, agility, and a demeanor — a personage — that is in a higher echelon. Watching Mookie now this season, shortened or otherwise, he just does these things that are a cut above. I see it with my own eyes. I have observed baseball for many many decades. Saw Koufax. See Trout. Saw Mays. See Verlander. Saw Clemente. See Christian Yelich.

The other night Mookie was on second, there was an errant throw to try to pick him off. He raced around third, came home, did a ballet-like head first slide, and was safe at home.

He just does things you recognize, as a baseball fan. He is a quality player to be sure, but he has a quality of sanguine — is there a word “sanguineness”? He does not seem to get too up or too down, too angry or too agitated. He is Mookie — onto himself, loves the game, plays it so well, and engenders ooh and ahhs but you tend to keep them muffled. He does not want fawning — he wants to play, to succeed, to contribute.

He is just doing his thing.

It is so awesome to be able to watch Mookie play. I am sympathetic to Boston fans — they know we got lucky out here.

This is what Mookie has said of late. It is typical Mookie. I will leave it at that:

I don’t pay any attention to [the MVP talk], I’m just doing what I can to win a World Series. I am who I am — those things, they come playing the game, you can’t think about those things and think about the game as well. I just have one goal and that’s to win a World Series and whatever comes will come.

In 1988, a year before our first son was born, the Dodgers won a World Series. We have learned, some of us anyway, not to get our hopes too high. With Mookie, I will count my blessings either way, and try to keep my heart from skipping a beat.