The 2020 World Series came to a close on Wednesday, October 28, and the Los Angeles Dodgers came out victorious after a season like no other. Beating the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6, the series was filled with incredible highlights.
The 2020 season was uncertain due to COVID-19, with spring training being cut short earlier this year. Major League Baseball (MLB) released a statement in mid-March stating: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.” The canceled spring training, along with the regular season being delayed, made this year MLB’s most uncertain year since its beginnings.
Attendance was, of course, limited throughout the entire season. Many teams even went so far as selling cardboard cutouts of fans and playing crowd noise through the loudspeaker. The latter was both for the effect and per many athletes’ wishes. The noise itself was sourced from recordings used for the video game series MLB: The Show. In terms of revenue, while the teams did lose money from in-person fans, food and drink sales, and more, they saved money on facilities and stadium management. Their television business model, however, remained entirely intact, if not healthier than ever.
The 2020 World Series was fought out between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ending in Game 6, the Dodgers secured their victory with 26-year-old shortstop Corey Seager, who earned the title of Most Valuable Player (MVP). The series was tight all the way through, the teams trading blows game for game. The Dodgers took Game 1 decisively, winning 8-3. Each team took another win before Game 4, which was lost in the final inning by the Dodgers due to two catastrophic blunders.
Game 6 was especially interesting, with Tampa Bay taking the lead with Randy Arozarena’s first inning solo home run. Both sides showed exceptional pitching, especially Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell. After two hits and nine strikeouts in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Rays made the decision to take out Snell in favor of Nick Anderson. Two batters later, and the Dodgers had stolen Tampa Bay’s lead. Mookie Betts took a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth, bringing the score up to 3-1, which is how the game ended up concluding.
The sixth and final game of the 2020 World Series was controversial to many, especially the Rays’ decision to take out Snell. He had thrown only 73 pitches with 9 strikeouts, among them Betts and Seager. He was the first pitcher in World Series history to have no walks and as many strikeouts as he did in less than six innings, and had a record game in the making, but was taken out due to broad statistics that said that Snell was bound to fail on his third time facing the Dodgers’ lineup. This decision, according to many baseball critics, ultimately led to the Rays losing the 2020 World Series. On the Dodgers’ side, Seager and Betts shone as we have seen in the past, with Julio Urías coming out of the bullpen for 2.1 incredible innings pitched.
Although this year’s season was strange and unlike any we have seen before, it serves as proof of the sport’s persistence through this difficult time. This year’s World Series had highlights and excitement, even from a distance.