by Will Hopkins
The 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season has come and gone, and the Los Angeles Dodgers were crowned champions for the first time since 1988 after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games in the recent Fall Classic. The Dodgers had been on the brink of glory for years, taking multiple trips to the World Series, but this year they were finally able to get it done.
The Dodgers reached the series by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in a Wild Card round series ,which was abnormal for the top seed in the league (in this case Dodgers) to have to participate in; however, it is 2020 during a pandemic, so normality has been thrown out the window for a while now.
Next, the Dodgers swept the Padres in the Divisional round before coming back late in National League Championship Series to knock off the Atlanta Braves, who originally held a 3-games-to-1 lead in a best-of-seven series, but lost composure and control in the later games.
As previously mentioned, COVID altered the baseball season greatly, possibly more than any other sport. This regular season was trunacted down to 60 games as opposed to the usual 162-game grind, and no fans were in attendance throughout the campaign. Teams only saw direct support from their faithful if they made it deep into the playoffs and were lucky enough to play in one of the neutral site parks that allowed supporters.
Drawbacks were that the “playoff bubble” to keep players\ isolated for Covid did not prove to be as effective as the one for the National Basketball Association or National Hockey League. Dodgers Third Baseman Justin Turner received a positive test in the middle of his team’s title-clinching game. He was immediately subbed off the field but came back on the playing surface to celebrate with his teammates post-game with no mask to protect them. The MLB said it would investigate the matter, but it was a perfect synopsis of 2020 in the United States and in sports: weirdness, people putting themselves before the interests of others, and heated discussion.
The Dodgers’ huge offseason acquisition of Outfielder Mookie Betts proved to be worth the trade assets and the boatload of money they gave him for a long-term contract extension, and in the end, their firepower on the mound, in the field, and at the plate was just too much to handle.
No one would argue that the season was the same as a usual season, and some would argue that it didn’t mean as much, but the Dodgers still had more to overcome this year than any , and they did it.