The phrase "no comment" very rarely actually means just that. It typically signifies the subject in question has much more to elaborate upon about a given topic, but is hesitant to for a number of reasons.
His/her response could be controversial, resulting in unnecessary blowback. His/her response might be long winded, and there's no sense in going on and on during a postgame media scrum. He/she may not feel the need to issue an opinion because it might be considered futile.
But now we're wondering what Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts meant by his "no comment" when asked if MLB's new playoff format was flawed. He was presented with that tough question after the Dodgers were swept out of the postseason by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Betts was admittedly emotional and offered honest responses to everything related to the team and his poor performance, but he didn't seem motivated to answer anything outside of that. "No comment," in this specific scenario, could represent implicit agreement with how the question was phrased.
Because if Betts didn't have any issue with the playoff format, wouldn't responding "no" have sufficed? It also would've been a shorter response. He went one extra word and it seems to have spoken volumes.
Did Mookie Betts implicitly blame MLB playoff formatting for Dodgers' failures?
The reporter who asked the question detailed how all of the top seeds were in peril or had already gotten bounced. The Orioles fell to the Rangers (who played in the WC round). The Dodgers were next to go. The Phillies had the Braves on the ropes at the time (and finished the job on Thursday).
The only survivor was the Houston Astros, and that's because they're some sort of version of a postseason powerhouse, reaching seven straight America League Championship Series dating back to 2017. It also helped they faced historic playoff failures in the ALDS (Minnesota Twins).
But the Dodgers have now gotten the shaft three straight years in this playoff format, depending on how you look at it. Sure, it's easy to say "just win" or "play better baseball," but it's not that easy when you're trying to maintain momentum and then are randomly thrown a five-game layoff.
It goes both ways, too. In 2022 and 2023, the Dodgers partially fell victim to the days off, running into all-of-a-sudden hot Padres and D-Backs teams that went onto the NLCS. In 2021, the Dodgers won 106 games (second-best record in baseball) and got stuck playing in the one-game NL Wild Card, which eventually gassed them when the NLCS arrived and they had to face another hot Wild Card team in the Braves.
There could be some feelings boiling under the surface with the way MLB handled this very evident money-grab, but the Dodgers' playoff futility predates 2020 (when the new format was introduced). They already had to shake off some postseason demons before having another wrench thrown into the equation, so now the task might feel insurmountable, especially when placed alongside inexplicable disappearing acts for two straight years.
Hope that helps theorize what Betts' "no comment" meant. That's the best we can do as we sit here just as confused as everybody else.