After a 32 year championship drought, the Dodgers from Los Angeles traveled to Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Oct. 27, where they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in the sixth game of the World Series. However, to name a champion, all MLB teams followed a long, confusing road, including postponement and the threat of cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening day was originally scheduled for March 26. But on March 12, Commissioner Robert Manfred delayed opening day by two weeks and cancelled the remainder of spring training. Then on March 16, MLB postponed the start of the season indefinitely.
After months of speculation and frustration, players took the field once again on July 23 to compete in the shortened 60 game season. Health protocols, such as the banning of high fives and the chewing of sunflower seeds during games, were introduced to ensure the safety of the players, staff and officials. Also, roster numbers were reduced to a 30 player team.
By the end of the regular season, the Dodgers comfortably sat atop of the National League West rankings with the best record in the league. They emerged victorious in an impressive 43 games while only losing 17 of them, earning an even higher win percentage than their last year’s 106 win season. The Los Angeles powerhouse pocketed the first place seed on the National side of a 16 team bracket looking to raise the trophy in October.
In the first round Wild Card Series, the Dodgers swept the eighth seeded Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 in a best-of-three match. In the second round Division Series, they walked all over the Padres from San Diego, winning the first three games and quickly ending the best-of-five series.
The Dodgers did not lose a playoff game until the League Championship Series, the semifinals, where they met the hometown Braves. The Braves gained the first two games only to be followed by a 15-3 slaughtering in favor of the Dodgers. The Braves recovered, though, winning game four 10-2 and forcing a possible game five end and the conclusion of a spectacular Dodgers season. However, the resilient Dodgers, down 3-1, won three straight games, taking the National League Championship and punching their ticket to the World Series.
There they met the first seeded Rays from the Atlantic bracket hailing from Tampa Bay, the site of the NHL champion Lightning. Both teams looked to bring home their cities’ second championship of the year, as the Lakers took the NBA championship for Los Angeles. The exciting six game series started on Oct. 20 with an 8-3 victory for the Dodgers. The five point win was countered by a 6-4 final in favor of the Rays.
The contenders split the next two games with a thrilling game four end, as Brett Phillips hit an in-the-park homer to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth and tie the series for the Rays. Game four was trailed by two Dodgers triumphs, ending the series in game six. Corey Seager, the Dodgers shortstop, was named the MVP, capping an incredible season.
However, a little bit of controversy followed the success of game six, as Justin Turner of the Dodgers was removed from the contest in the seventh inning due to a positive coronavirus test. The late results did not return positive until late in the game, where he left the stadium and isolated in the locker room. After the series concluded though, Turner could be seen on the field taking photos with his team and the trophy without a mask on, an action that sparked serious debate among fans.