Los Angeles Dodgers Win a Somewhat Controversial World Series


Los Angeles Times

Players on the Los Angeles Dodgers embrace each other after winning Game 6 the 2020 World Series and securing the championship title.

Carter LaCorte, Freelancer

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the 2020 World Series, and — despite the argument that a 60-game regular season and an extended postseason would delegitimize the World Series — their victory was sound. The Dodgers have earned the championship title without an ‘asterisk.’ 

The circumstances surrounding the Dodgers’ win were fair. Although the Houston Astros made it to the ALCS with a 29-31 record, the Dodgers’ record of 43-17 was the best in the MLB. The Dodgers also claimed victories over strong teams, including the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series (NLDS), the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), and the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. 

The Dodgers did not cheat, as previous champions have done (notably the Astros in 2017 and the Boston Red Sox in 2018), and the team suffered the loss of David Price, the former Cy Young Award recipient acquired from Boston earlier this year, who opted-out of the 2020 season.

In the acquisition of Price, the Dodgers also gained 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts. Betts made impressive defensive plays in right field throughout the postseason, and hit two home runs in the World Series, one of which gave the Dodgers an insurance run in Game 6 — the game they later won 3-1 to clinch the tile. 

As with the majority of Major League Baseball events, the 2020 World Series did not escape controversy. Rays fans will forever lament over Game 6, the game in which Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled starting pitcher Blake Snell after 73 pitches — in spite of the fact that Snell had struck out nine batters and allowed only two hits in fewer than six innings. Twitter exploded after Cash walked to the mound and replaced Snell with relief pitcher Nick Anderson, who immediately allowed two runs — a move detrimental to the Rays’ initial 1-0 lead. 

During the same game, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner — who many consider the heart and soul of the team — was mysteriously pulled in the 7th inning. It was later announced that Turner’s COVID-19 test had come back ‘positive’ midway through the game. After the game, however, Turner was seen on the field with his wife; he was also photographed not wearing a mask in the team photo.

The MLB is conducting an investigation into Turner’s behavior. The League said in a statement that Turner “emphatically refused to comply” when he was told not to join the team after the game. Still, it can be argued that the MLB is partly to blame for the situation.

Firstly, by the time Turner had been pulled (late into the game), he had already exposed his teammates to virus, and it likely would have been okay for him to finish playing in the game. Secondly, if Turner’s COVID test was a positive — and Tampa Bay made a comeback — the League should have delayed Game 7. In this scenario — given no other players tested positive for the virus — everyone would have been happy. Major League Baseball announces that there were no postseason positive COVID tests, the Dodgers won a World Series with Turner, and everyone but Blake Snell and the Rays had a good time. 

While the Turner investigation could end poorly for the Dodgers, sports fans in the City of Angels have little to complain about, especially with the Lakers winning the NBA Championship. Clayton Kershaw finally won his first ring, and squandered the narrative that he is a bad postseason pitcher. As a franchise, the Dodgers won their first World Series title since 1989. Even more, Los Angeles still has a generally young team. With Walker Buehler and Julio Urias in the rotation, and Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger leading the offensive, the Dodgers’s window for another championship is still open.