Mookie Betts always had a hard time sitting still. It’s a trait that runs in the family.
Betts’ mother, Diana Collins, loved bowling so much that she bowled on October 6, 1992, the night before she gave birth to her son. Betts grew up on bowling alleys, building his arm strength by pushing balls down lanes at age 3. Soon after, he picked up a bat, developing supernatural power from his diminutive frame.
By the end of his time at Nashville’s John Overton High School, Betts was a three-sport standout, dazzling on the basketball court, earning Tennessee Boys Bowler of the Year honors and being drafted in the fifth round for the Boston Red Sox.
As his illustrious baseball career took off, his other passions never faded. He liked to have different outings to rest his mind. Even now, as a six-time All-Star, the 30-year-old former MVP is still finding new hobbies to explore.
“If I didn’t, I’d go crazy,” Betts told FOX Sports. “These activities are kind of my outlet.
“Putting work in is another outlet. Recently, the last couple of years, I’ve become kind of able to get in front of a camera and show a new face that I didn’t really know I had.”
It was Betts’ longtime friends Cam Lewis and Jeff “One” Mason who convinced him of his on-screen ability, a talent he’s beginning to embrace as co-founder of One Marketing Group. The three friends got the idea for their media company during a conversation in Betts’ garage at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
It’s Betts’ latest passion project, one that doesn’t involve a bat or a ball.
Mookie Betts wishes Rachel Robinson a happy birthday at the 2022 MLB All-Star Game
“We were together 12 hours a day just dreaming, ‘What are we going to do?'” Betts recalled. “I think COVID accelerated it a lot.”
Of course, none of them could have predicted exactly how it would play out.
Like Betts, Lewis’ background was in sports. He played basketball abroad. Mason used to run a trucking company. But when Betts moved to Los Angeles, the group of friends set out to fulfill a new shared dream. They wanted to create a company that could create opportunities and, as Lewis put it, “show things in our lives or the urban community that aren’t seen in the true light.”
“We wanted a bigger platform and things like that to inspire, and the entertainment industry sounded right up our alley,” Lewis continued. “None of us had a background, but we had real hopes and intentions to make things possible.”
Two years later, OMG partnered with Propagate to launch its first project, a Jackie Robinson documentary titled “Get to the Bag,” which premiered in October on FS1. Betts landed on the subject of the film after his first year with the Dodgers. He had been asked to do many things for Jackie Robinson Day, and he wanted to learn more about the man.
“I didn’t know much more than common knowledge,” Betts said. “Once we were able to dig deeper and learn a little bit more about Jackie, that’s when the floodgates opened for what we really wanted to learn.”
Jackie Robinson: Hit the bag
“Jackie Robinson: Get to the Bag,” a FOX Sports film produced with Mookie Betts’ media company, highlights Jackie Robinson’s remarkable career beyond baseball.
Betts helped produce the film alongside Lewis and Mason and appeared on screen as one of many athletes interviewed in the documentary, which celebrated Robinson’s journey from the baseball field to corporate America and the lives that made an impact along the way.
The documentary looks at parts of Robinson’s story that might be overlooked.
“I didn’t know what a great entrepreneur he was,” Mason said. “But the biggest thing I didn’t know was that he opened a bank, he and some of his friends, to provide opportunities in his community. That blew my mind.”
The film, directed by Victorious De Costa and narrated by Brooklyn rapper Skyzoo, took home Cynopsis Media’s award for Best Social Justice Documentary Special, an honor that Mason said shed light on the effort that the three friends did to make the project. possible
Mookie Betts accepts Cynopsis Award for ‘Justice Robinson: Get to the Bag’
Mookie Betts accepts the Best Social Justice Documentary Award at the Cynopsis Best of the Best Rising Star Awards for FOX Sports’ “Jackie Robinson: Get to the Bag.”
It also indicated how far Betts and his team had come since they were kids.
Betts has known Lewis since sixth grade. They met Mason through a shared personal trainer. In 2012, the three began working together at The Training Corner in Tennessee.
“We all started having breakfast after all our practices, sitting around talking,” Mason recalled. “So that led to us having lunch. Then, that led to us having dinner together. Then we gravitated towards each other and really started to create this close bond and this brotherhood and friendship that we have. , and that evolved into over the years.”
Fast forward a decade and the talks are still going on. They are tight. Betts appreciates their support, especially after he was traded to the Dodgers in 2020.
“I’m a country boy, you know what I’m saying?” Betts said. “Coming out west wasn’t anything I really wanted to do. It was actually One who told me I’d love it because he’s from here. I didn’t believe it, but we came out here and we charm. It’s probably been the best move that’s ever happened in my life.”
Los Angeles has started to feel more like home.
Three years ago, he helped the Dodgers to a World Series title in his first year with the club. This year, his leadership will be even more vital as the Dodgers try to bounce back from last year’s early playoff exit.
Off the field, his voice has grown. It just started his own YouTube channel to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at his life, something he wouldn’t have attempted years ago.
“I used to sweat when I got behind the cameras and I had to really control or think about what I was saying,” Betts said. “Now, it’s so natural that I’m starting to understand that I’m pretty good at it.”
The older he got, the more he understood the platform he had, the lives he could touch, and how his words and actions could help create change, especially when it came to shining a light on social injustice.
At OMG, he hopes to do the same.
“I was never the type to want attention,” Betts said. “I’m still not the guy who wants attention. But if there’s anything I can help with, I definitely will.”
Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports. He was previously the Dodgers’ digital and print publisher. Follow him on Twitter at @Rowan Kavner.
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