The Los Angeles Dodgers are World Series champions after a long 32-year drought.
Back in 1988, a much simpler time, a World Series ticket was $40, a gallon of gas was 91 cents, a movie ticket was somewhere around $3.50 and the number one song on the radio was “Kokomo,” by The Beach Boys. Only eight members of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster were alive the last time Los Angeles celebrated a World Series championship.
Fast forward 32 years to the most unusual year yet: 2020. With limited fans in attendance, a ticket could cost over $2,000, a gallon of gas costs roughly $2.60 and movie theaters, if open, were seen not long ago practically giving tickets away after being shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Not only that, but the pandemic ultimately forced Major League Baseball to make many changes to get the season off the ground.
Among these changes was a 60-game season with few to no fans, an expanded playoff format that included 16 teams, new rules for extra innings and the first ever World Series played at a neutral location. The Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays four games to two at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, 1,400 miles away from their home stadium, in front of 11,437 fans.
Allan Rendon, a senior exercise science major at Montclair State University, was happy to see baseball back, even in limited capacity.
“Baseball is baseball, no matter the amount of games, we finally got it back,” Rendon said.
It has been a long time coming for a team that won eight consecutive National League West division titles, three National League pennants and suffered two painful World Series losses, in the span of two seasons. The Dodgers are finally atop the baseball world, bringing their seventh championship to the organization.
With a game six victory, a sigh of relief was felt after so many years of being known as underachievers who spend money, only to continuously lose. With an unusual postseason, the Dodgers called Globe Life Field their home. Los Angeles, like the other postseason teams, were dedicated to finishing out an unusual season, even though it took a bubble-like system to do so.
One week ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers became World Champions. pic.twitter.com/VN0H63lf1a
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 3, 2020
This championship also canceled the notion that starting pitcher and Dodger veteran, Klayton Kershaw, was not built for October baseball.
Kershaw is the longest tenured Dodger, debuting with the team in 2008. His accomplishments include being an eight-time all star, three-time National League Cy Young winner, 2014 National League MVP (the first pitcher to do so since 1968) and having thrown a no-hitter before.
With such a long list of awards, Kershaw can finally add a World Series championship to that mix, and an almost automatic ticket into the hall of fame. When people began to write about Kershaw’s postseason woes, he once again proved them wrong, as he solidified his name in baseball history.
Fans from around the league, including Rendon, are happy for Kershaw and what he was able to accomplish.
“Kershaw is already a phenomenal pitcher and being the Dodgers’ ace for a long time, he already has a good resume,” Rendon said. “Being so close and finally getting that [championship] title just puts the cherry on top.”
It took more than one player to finish off this remarkable season for Los Angeles. Nine different Dodgers players hit a home run in the World Series, setting a new record. Stellar defensive plays were made by first baseman, Cody Bellinger, and right fielder, Mookie Betts.
Shortstop and World Series MVP, Corey Seager, had four doubles, two home runs and got on base 14 times throughout the series. Seager’s 2020 season marked his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. It took the entire team from the bullpen, to the starting rotation, all the way down to the available coaches to finally finish the job.
What many thought would be a season that would never crown a champion because of COVID-19, the postseason and World Series gave baseball fans lots of moments to smile about during this time of uncertainty. The Dodgers being crowned champions sent the Rays home, who are still a part of the six teams that have never won a World Series title.
The Rays showed up on the big stage and delivered historical moments that we will never forget. Randy Arozarena rose to the occasion, setting major league records for most hits, home runs and total bases in a single postseason. Even with the Rays coming up short, they have a lot to be proud of and will likely continue to be contenders for years to come.
The Dodgers began the season as favorites and proved all year long that they were a team on a different playing field than everyone else. Going the whole season while only having lost one series is a remarkable feat. With Dodgers players like third baseman, Justin Turner, and outfielder, Joc Pederson, heading into free agency this offseason, Los Angeles will still have plenty of star pieces to make a run at back-to-back titles in 2021.
If everything goes right, the Dodgers will also set themselves up to be continuous favorites to win their division, and to be a part of October baseball for a very long time.
With the 2020 season finally over, we will see what happens throughout the winter and get a glimpse of what the future holds for fans being a part of the atmosphere in stadiums across the country.
What Dodgers’ announcer Vin Scully said in 1988 after the Dodgers World Series win still resonates to this day: “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”