1988 was the last time the Los Angeles Dodgers hoisted the Commissioners’ Trophy. Ronald Reagan was president. Movie audiences were rushing to theaters to see Child’s Play and Beetlejuice. That Dodger team featured Kirk Gibson, Fernando Valenzua, Orel Hershiser and Don Sutton. Thirty-two long years.
That drought ended last night as the 2020 Dodgers, featuring Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Will Smith, Mookie Betts, and Max Muncy, became World Series champions.
Set at Globe Field in Arlington, Texas, just 15 miles from where future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw grew up and after a baseball season like no other where fans were forced to stay away from stadiums due to an ongoing pandemic, the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win the best-of-seven series four games to two.
Just two weeks after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship.
It was a World Series matchup that proved to be an edge-of-your-seat thriller. It began with Dodgers third baseman being removed from tje game after receibing a positive COVID-19 test.
The on-field celebration took place with the Dodgers wearing masks. “It’s a bittersweet night for us,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in an on-field interview on FOX Sports. “We’re glad to be done. I think it’s a great accomplishment for our players to get the season completed, but obviously we’re concerned when any of our players test positive. We learned during the game that Justin was a positive. He was immediately isolated to prevent spread.”
On Twitter, Turner thanked those who reached out to him. “I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA.”
Turner, however, would return to the field to celebrate with his teammates.
While it was the Dodgers’ third World Series appearance in the last four years, they had not won it all since 1988 — a full decade before the Rays’ inaugural season. This was Tampa’s second World Series appearance, the other coming in 2008 when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I had a crazy feeling that came to fruition,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s just a special group of players, organization, just all that we’ve kind of overcome, I just knew that we weren’t going to be denied this year.”
Seager Wins World Series MVP
Thanks to a Randy Arozarena first inning home run, the Rays had a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, and their starter, Blake Snell, was pitching a gem. He went 5 1/3 innings, striking out nine, but Snell — after 73 pitches — was pulled by manager Kevin Cash after giving up a hit to Austin Barnes. It’s a decision that will likely be discussed by fans during the offseason, if not longer.
“I guess I regret [the Snell move] because it didn’t work out,” Cash said. “But I feel like the thought process was right. Every decision that’s made, that end result has a pretty weighing factor in how you feel about it. If we had to do it over again, I would have the utmost confidence in Nick Anderson to get through that inning.”
From there, the Dodgers capitalized. With Nick Anderson pitching for Tampa, Mookie Betts doubled, advancing Barnes to third. An Anderson wild pitch brought Barnes home, as Betts moved to third. One play later, Betts slid home safe, scoring the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice hit by Corey Seager. Seager would go on to win World Series MVP honors.
Betts’ solo home run in the bottom of the eighth gave the Dodgers an insurance run. And that was all she wrote.
This team was incredible all throughout the year, all throughout the postseason, all throughout the quarantine,” said MVP Corey Seager, who drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Seager became the eighth player to win the League Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP in the same year. “We never stopped. We were ready to go as soon as the bell was called. And once it did, we kept rolling.”
“I’ve been to the postseason, I’ve lost every single year,” added Kershaw. “To look up, I wish it was Dodger Stadium, but it feels like it right now with all these Dodger fans around. To see how happy these fans are, they’ve been waiting a long time, too… It’s just a special feeling.”