Dodgers rookie Bellinger wants his own post­sea­son mem­o­ries

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

LOS AN­GE­LES - Although Cody Bellinger is mak­ing his play­off de­but this week for the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, the 22year-old rookie is al­ready a vet­eran of ticker-tape pa­rades.

Bellinger’s fa­ther, Clay, played only four ma­jor league sea­sons, but three ended in the post­sea­son with the Yan­kees — and two con­cluded with cham­pi­onships. In some of Cody’s ear­li­est mem­o­ries, he is a wideeyed kid sit­ting in a car along­side his par­ents while cas­cades of pa­per and cheers pour down into Man­hat­tan’s metal canyons.

“I def­i­nitely re­mem­ber the World Se­ries pa­rades,” Bellinger said Wed­nes­day in the Dodgers’ club­house. “I re­mem­ber be­ing there. I re­mem­ber (the games) more be­cause of the videos.”

Bellinger’s rookie sea­son in Los An­ge­les has al­ready been in­deli­ble, and he heads into the NL Divi­sion Se­ries against Ari­zona on Fri­day night shoul­der­ing none of his team­mates’ bag­gage from these 104-win Dodgers’ re­cent play­off fail­ures. With Bellinger’s 39 homers and left-handed bat in the heart of their or­der, the Dodgers have a dif­fer­ent, more dan­ger­ous look than the pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions of the team that has fallen short of the World Se­ries in four straight post­sea­sons.

To earn his own pa­rade mem­o­ries down Sun­set Boule­vard or Figueroa Street, Bellinger must ex­tend the ex­traor­di­nary sea­son that has left him all but cer­tain to be the Dodgers’ sec­ond straight NL Rookie of the Year.

“I’ve dreamed about it for a long time,” Bellinger said. “It’s weird. I’ve al­ways seen com­mer­cials for the post­sea­son, but now I’m ac­tu­ally in it. I’m go­ing to do what I can to help them win, (but) we’re go­ing to stay the same. Ev­ery­body is do­ing the same thing they did for 162 games. There’s just go­ing to be a lit­tle more ex­cite­ment and adren­a­line in the air.”

While Bellinger’s or­di­nary build be­lies his ex­traor­di­nary power, the first base­man and out­fielder will be no sur­prise to the Di­a­mond­backs or any other op­po­nent. He set the NL rookie record and fin­ished sec­ond in the league be­hind only Gian­carlo Stan­ton in homers, con­nect­ing ev­ery 12.3 at­bats, while end­ing up sixth in slug­ging per­cent­age (.581) and eighth in ex­tra-base hits (69).

He isn’t wor­ried about be­ing a tar­get un­der the Oc­to­ber spot­light, and his coaches and team­mates don’t ex­pect post­sea­son pres­sure to af­fect a player who be­gan 2017 as a hum­ble prospect sim­ply hop­ing for a Septem­ber call-up.

“He just stayed the same guy he was in spring train­ing, when we were all over him, telling him to go do stuff for us,” said An­dre Ethier, whose locker is next to Bellinger’s stall at Dodger Sta­dium.

“You never re­ally saw him get too ex­cited, or ride the suc­cess too high. I don’t think that’s in his per­son­al­ity, but like with any­thing, some­times hav­ing that suc­cess and get­ting those things some­times can lead you in a wrong di­rec­tion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.