Matthew Breault, Assistant Sports Editor
The Los Angeles Dodgers have defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 to claim their first World Series Championship since 1988. The Dodgers finished the regular season with the best record in Major League Baseball at 43-17.
After a dominant regular season and postseason, the Dodgers finished off the shortened season with the fourth-highest per-game run differential in the modern era of MLB, as well as their first World Series Championship in three tries since 2017.
Utica College Junior and Dodger super fan Alexandra Drake said she was extremely happy for the Dodgers since the last few years for them haven’t been so lucky.
“I was so excited to finally see them win the title after multiple trips to the World Series,” Drake said. “It was just so amazing to see as a Dodgers fan.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers have made the World Series in three of the last four seasons. They lost to the Houston Astros in 2017, the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020.
A scandal broke out in 2019 that claimed the Houston Astros had stolen signs during the entire 2017 season, the year they happened to defeat the Dodgers in the World Series in a grueling seven-game series. After determining the Astros did in fact cheat, MLB suspended former Astros Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow for one year, as well as a $5 million fine and the loss of future draft picks for the team.
Utica College first-year student Toni Whyte said she wasn’t too happy to see the Dodgers win the World Series, but she accepted it because of what they’ve gone through to get there.
“To be honest, I was a little bitter because I’m a Mets fan and I’m sick of seeing the Dodgers in the playoffs every single year,” Whyte said. “Although I was rooting for the Rays, I do think the Dodgers played well and deserved this championship, especially after what happened a few years ago with the Astros.”
Another one of the teams that defeated the Dodgers in the World Series in recent years was the Red Sox, who were led by American League MVP Mookie Betts. Two years later, Betts is wearing Dodger Blue after he was acquired via trade in February where the Dodgers received the former MVP outfielder, as well as former Cy Young Award winner David Price. Betts went on to sign a 12-year, $365 million extension with Dodgers a few months after being with the team.
Utica College Freshman Jake Guzda said that as a Red Sox fan, he was sad to see him go, but he knew he would help the Dodgers win a World Series.
“I think it was only a matter of time for the Dodgers to win it all so I wasn’t really surprised,” Guzda said. “When Boston traded Betts to the Dodgers, I thought he was the missing piece they needed to win the World Series.”
When the Dodgers were in their glory celebrating the end to their 32-year World Series Championship drought, news came in that Dodgers Third Baseman Justin Turner had received a positive test for COVID-19. This positive test was the first one the MLB had seen since before the playoffs had started.
After being removed from the game, Turner returned to the field to join the team in a celebration. Many people were shocked and confused when they saw Turner back on the field after the MLB had removed him earlier in the game.
“I found it very concerning to see Turner back on the field since he was adamant about wearing a mask and social distancing throughout the season,” Drake said. “I personally think this situation could have been handled better by management as well. I do understand that he was excited to celebrate, but he definitely should have been more cautious.”
Some people agree that Turner made a mistake in returning to the field because of him testing positive for a virus that has killed over 233,000 people in the United States.
“I found it really ridiculous and irresponsible that he went back onto the field knowing that he tested positive for COVID-19,” Whyte said. “There were families and children on the field during the celebration and I definitely think there needs to be a punishment.”
While some people are blaming Turner for going back onto the field, others are saying that it is not entirely his fault, because you have to put some blame on the people working there.
“Although I think it was irresponsible for what he did, I think punishment should also be placed on the people that actually let him back on the field,” Guzda said. “I do think they should still probably fine Turner though.”
Due to the pandemic, this MLB season was cut short. Instead of playing a regular 162 game schedule, this 2020 season only consisted of 60 games.
The question people are asking is if the Dodgers will have an asterisk next to their name in MLB history due to the 2020 MLB pandemic season.
“I think it is easy to discount the Dodgers because it was such a weird season,” Whyte said. “But at the same time, all teams had the same opportunity, just like any other season.”
Drake said that the reason why people say there will be an asterisk is because of the rule changes that were made for this season.
“There is the possibility that there might be an asterisk because the season was shortened due to COVID-19 as well as other changes like the use of the Designated Hitter (DH) in the national league throughout the season,” Drake said. “I think the potential is there for one, but I hope there isn’t going to be one because the Dodgers played really well in the World Series.”
The MLB did make some changes this season so the season could be played. A few of those changes including the National League Designated Hitter and an expanded 16 team playoff system. In this playoff system, the top two teams in each division, plus the two remaining teams with the best records in each league made up the eight-team fields in the American and National Leagues.
Instead of the usual five teams per league, the MLB expanded the field to eight teams per league which meant it would be easier for teams to make the playoffs, but harder for them to win in the playoffs.
“I think the Dodgers definitely deserved it this year,” Guzda said. “It was a harder playoff structure anyway so I do believe they deserved it 100 percent.”