Scouts: Well ladies, gentleman and our soon to be robotic overloards, we finally have a conclusion to the 2020 season. We have a new champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rays put up a heck of a fight, but ultimately the Dodgers were just too dominant, too relentless.
Rays 1, Dodgers 3
I’m sure MLB fans will debate the wisdom of Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell from the game in the 6th for a long time. Snell was holding on to a 1-0 lead, and just allowed a 1 out single to Austin Barnes with Mookie Betts coming to the dish. Cash placed a call to the bullpen, and brought in Nick Anderson, who promptly gave up a double to Betts. Then with men on at third and second, Anderson threw the ball away allowing the game tying run and Betts to move up to third. Corey Seager then plated Betts on a fielders choice, and just like that the Dodgers had all the runs they would need. The solo homer Betts hit in the 8th was just icing on the cake at that point.
Cash’s decision to yank Snell was immediately criticized online by many fans, players, and former executives. Snell, would end up the game with 5.1 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 run (thanks to Nick Anderson’s meltdown), and 9 strikeouts. It’s further reinvigorated the debate between coaching by your gut and coaching by the analytics.
Ultimately, though, one single decision didn’t sway the entire series. The Rays put up one hell of a fight, but the Dodgers were simply too much to handle. Clayton Kershaw can finally rest now that he’s no longer in the list of greatest’s pitchers never to have won a World Series. Cody Bellinger gets to take home some extra hardware after being named World Series MVP. In the 2020 Post Season, Seager absolutely mashed the ball, hitting 8 home runs (2nd all time), 20 RBI’s (2nd), scored 20 runs (2nd), totaled 50 bases (tied for 2nd), and slugged .746 (15th).
In many ways it’s fortunate the Dodgers won this one, as after the game it was announced that Justin Turner, who was pulled prior to the 8th inning had tested positive for COVID-19 midgame. Turner, who was supposed to be in isolation returned to the field for the post game celebration in yet another stunning display of one person’s lack of common decency towards the safety and health of those around them. Had the Rays won and tied the series, who knows what nightmare would have occurred for game 7. Now players on both sides have to go home and isolate as they have all potentially been infected. What a fitting end to a miserable 2020 season.
And finally, we have one final footnote on the 2020 season. Rob Manfred was very loudly boo’d during his post game remarks by those remaining from the 11,437 fans who were allowed to attend the game. Manfred was very visible shook by the loud show of displeasure, one that quite a few of us would concur. Fans have a lot to be upset about, with Manfred’s push to rapidly change so many rules such as the expansion of the playoffs allowing losing teams to enter, the botched negotiations with the MLBPA leading up to the 60 game season, the cutthroat decision to eliminate so much of the minor leagues, and his entire botched handling of the COVID-19 mired 2020 season. Not to mention how horribly he botched the Astros and Redsox cheating sandal.
So with that, 2020 is finally on the books, and we can all collectively drink to forget that any of it ever happened. While I’m happy for many players like Kershaw to finally get the ring he so much deserved, I never felt right with the season, and I know many others felt the same way. The shortened season, the planned 7 inning double headers, the bonus runner on second in extras, the expanded bullpens and rosters, and the general inability to sacrifice money for the health of those around us, to put all our efforts towards fighting against a devastating disease, instead choosing to turn a blind eye and hope if you just pretend it isn’t there, it will just go away by magic. It all just leaves a giant hole in my heart, and in the end, I just don’t feel it was worth it all.
I don’t know what 2021 has in store for us. Personally I’m looking forward to the break and am very hopeful that next year things will be different and we can get back to baseball as we know and love it.