The Los Angeles Dodgers 32-year World Series drought is over. In Game 6 of the 2020 Championship, the Dodgers outlasted the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win their seventh title. Before anyone starts saying there should be an asterisk next to this World Series title, it's time to think again.
To win this World Series this year was arguably more difficult to win than in a normal year, with all the delayed games, shortened season with more pressure on each game and all of the restrictions and bubbles players had to abide by. If the Rays or anybody else won, it'd be the same story. All the teams played by the same rules just like any other season, therefore it counts the same.
The Dodgers have had a long road to get here even in a pandemic-reduced-60-game season. LA has won eight NL West division titles in a row but have little hardware to show for that success. Since 2016, the Dodgers have lost to the eventual champions every year. In 2016, it was to the Cubs in NLCS. In 2017 is was to the Astros in the World Series, who were later caught cheating. In 2018 it was to the Boston in the World Series. Finally, it was to the Washington Nationals in the NLDS in 2019. Now no one can rival them at the top of the baseball world.
They easily could have been out of this postseason down 3-1 to the Atlanta Braves. They easily could have melted down after Game 4 of the World Series where they should have won but the Rays rallied back in the most wild fashion possible. These Dodgers were resilient. Clayton Kershaw shook off his playoff demons and pitched two incredible games in this World Series. He even pitched poorly in the NLCS which put the Braves one win away from reaching the Fall Classic.
But the Dodgers mostly rode their bats on the way to this championship. Corey Seager became just the eighth player ever to win the NLCS and WS MVP awards, the last being Madison Bumgarner in 2014. Also, not enough could be said about Mookie Betts joining the Dodgers. He brought a level of leadership and defense that got the Dodgers out of so many close calls where their season was just hanging by a thread.
It will be questioned for quite some time why Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled his starter Blake Snell who was pitching a two hit shutout in Game 6. Snell struck out nine Dodgers, didn't hand out a walk and only had 73 pitches through 5.1 innings. The Rays were up 1-0, but the Rays bullpen immediately relinquished that lead and the rest is history.
Cash said he didn't want Snell to be facing the Dodgers lineup for a third time and that mixing in the (to be fair, dominant) bullpen would throw off Dodgers hitters more. It completely backfired and deprived baseball starving fans a Game 7. This might be a case where the analytics craze got in the way of some good old fashion baseball. Snell was pitching his best game of the season. Instead the Rays have a 23-year championship drought of their own.
The Dodgers rightfully celebrated their World Series title on the field like every other champion has done but it's when Justin Turner joined his teammates is when the scrutiny began. Turner had a COVID-19 test that turned out to be positive in the middle of this game. He was subsequently taken out of the game. But then he still went out on the field to celebrate with his teammates in what sums up well the picture of the response to the virus in 2020.
It's very difficult to justify putting his teammates in danger. Let alone the city of LA celebrating their second championship in a month since the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th title. This seems to be the sports landscape in 2020 and the foreseeable future.