By: Tom Greer
What a World Series we got huh? In a pandemic year, where playing sports wasn’t a certainty and Baseball was initially having trouble getting on the field... we got an entertaining playoff capped off with what we all deserved - a matchup between the two best teams in Baseball the Dodgers and the Rays. I’m sure Baseball as a whole was really hoping for a Yankees | Dodgers to ignite a former New York rivalry. After the Yankees got bounced from the post season, I bet they were secretly rooting for the Astro’s to make it, so the Dodgers could break their 33 year old World Series drought by taking out the team that cultivated one of the biggest cheating scandals in the history of the game. Well they didn’t get any of that and while either one of those story lines would have sports writers drooling... instead they got what could've been the best possible outcome, the two best teams in the league deciding who was going to be the last team standing. Yea sure, the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t the marquee name; but that doesn’t make them any less deriving. The Rays had clearly been the best team in the American league all year being top 10 in ERA (2nd), Innings Pitched (2nd), Saves (1st), Home runs (1st), RBI’s (7th). It's no wonder that the Rays and their dozen or so fans had a realistic dream or shot at hoisting that Commissioner's trophy for the first time.
That all being said, they’re playing the Dodgers. A team that has been picked to win the World Series for what seems to be an entire decade. There are three certainties in life... death, taxes, and that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to be the favorites to win the World Series. You really cant blame anyone with a line up that’s got Cody Bellenger, Justin Turner, Corey Seager (World Series MVP), and you know just arguably the best player in Baseball - Mookie Betts (I hate the Dodgers; but am HUGE Mookie Betts fan). On top of that, the rotation containing Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and the man trying to get that World Series ring that has eluded him his whole career... one of the more successful pitchers in baseball for over a decade - Clayton Kershaw. Honestly, it made this a true David and Goliath situation... the 'small market little engine that could' Rays against the star studded, flush with cash and confidence LA Dodgers. Hell, two players on the dodgers alone essentially equal the ENTIRE TAMPA BAY RAYS PAY ROLL!!!
But hey... payroll doesn’t matter, what it comes down to is the players on the field and not how much they’re making. In this case both of these teams were the best of the best. This is essentially why we found ourselves on Tuesday, in Game 6 - the Rays trying to extend the series to a game 7. Now let’s be honest everyone... we ALL deserved a game 7. Especially with how 2020 has been going and the uncertainty of playing this season - we deserved to see this Series go the distance. I liken this to two premier boxers refusing to succumb to the others knockout punch! That is... until Kevin Cash essentially managed his way out of potentially making that happen. Blake Snell had been cruising to the tune of 9 strikeouts while only surrendering one hit and a single run into the
sixth inning. Sounds pretty good right? That just sounds like a pitcher who’s straight up DEALING - just meant to be left alone and watch work some magic…right? Well, someone should tell Kevin Cash that - because in the 6th inning with Austin Barns at the dish, Snell gives up a single aka only the second hit the Dodgers got all game. Cash sees this as the perfect opportunity to yank his ace for Nick Anderson. The rest is basically history from there, he immediately gives up a double to the aforementioned best player in Baseball, Mookie Betts. He throws a wild pitch to score the tying run, a slow roller to first scoring Mookie and probably before Cash could even blink, the Dodgers made him eat that mistake and didn’t look back. Capped off with a home run by Betts in the bottom of the 8th, the Dodgers broke their 33-year curse. Clayton Kershaw finally got the 'never winning a World Series' monkey off his back and finally, the pandemic ridden 60 game Season in 2020 was finally the Dodgers year.
What a cap to the 2020 season! We got the best team in the league winning it all. A future Hall of Fame pitcher finally getting the one achievement that had been eluding him his whole career, a World Series ring. Leaving us with the only question fitting for this pandemic season…. what was Justin Turner doing on the field after testing positive for COVID? MLB ah allegedly started up their own investigation; but what we DO know is that Turner tested positive before the game. The MLB though it safe enough to test him again and let him play hoping for a false positive. Well Tuner’s second test came back positive leading to him being taken out of the game late (after already playing most of it with COVID that they knew about) and subsequently letting him run onto the field with his team mates and their loved ones, celebrating the monumental victory - while potentially spreading the virus to everyone on that field. Fitting that a historic end to a season that should be headlined with milestone achievements and the end of a World Series drought has to be tainted by Baseball mishandling their own COVID protocols at the very end. Not a great look for Baseball and I’m sure Justin Turner won’t care about the fine or suspension that will probably be coming because in the end all that matters for them and the Baseball world is the LA Dodgers are finally World Series champs again and now we can get on to the off season…the UNCLE STEVIE OFF SEASON…