The Los Angeles Dodgers are the 2020 World Series champions. I will never get tired of saying, reading, or writing that phrase.
Even though I’ve only been writing for four years, far too many seasons since then have left me to write about what went wrong, again. And while plenty went wrong in these playoffs, the end result was right.
To say many, it was so long in the making, in so many different ways. The obvious 32-year drought since the 1988 team. The championship that should’ve been won in 2017. The endless waiting for the greatest of his generation, Clayton Kershaw, waiting since 2008 to finally get his ring.
For regular readers of this blog, you well know this is the one that I have personally been waiting for. Clayton Kershaw has been my personal favorite player since he first debuted wearing the number 54 in 2008. I have watched as many of his outings as possible from the East Coast. I have cried both tears of joy and despair watching his highs and lows as the Dodgers’ ace for all these years.
Kershaw has had his share of postseason disappointments, both of his own doing and at the hands of bad managerial choices. Too often left to be the savior of the team, he couldn’t carry the weight of the team on his broad shoulders.
But this year, he didn’t have to. This year, he had more help, both from the offense and from the bullpen. He went 4-1 through the four rounds of the postseason, with a 2.93 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Most importantly, he wasn’t called upon to make the critical outs because there was seemingly no other option.
Along the way, Kershaw passed Justin Verlander for the most postseason strikeouts with 207. He presumably will be able to add to the amount next year, and hopefully for at least a few years after that.
To a man, Kershaw’s teammates wanted the ring for him, as well as themselves. Players who were teammates of his previously, or never were, still were happy for him to finally reach the pinnacle of baseball. Kershaw was not destined to be the Dan Marino of baseball, the best to never win that elusive ring.
It does not matter how it happened. It does not matter that this was a shortened season, and that this World Series was never played in Dodger Stadium. While a full year of dominance of the Dodgers and celebrating in front of a stadium full of fans would have been optimal, everything about this season bas been suboptimal, and so, in a way, it fits.
While talking heads and fans of other teams might think the Dodgers’ window is closing, this was the last chance to win with this core group of players. Seven of the players from this team are now free agents including Justin Turner, Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez, players who each had a pivotal moment this postseason, among others. Kershaw now only has one year left on his current contract, and while one very much hopes that he is a Dodger for life, there is no guarantee of that.
Maybe it took a crazy year. Maybe it took how knowing they were a thallus cheated out of the ring in 2017. Maybe it took being down 3-1 in the NLCS to get their act together. Maybe the baseball gods wanted to give us something in this year that has been so hellish. Whatever it was, it doesn’t matter. Kershaw has his ring and for right now, that is all that matters.