Rays fall in classic
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
Then a crazy sequence of blunders occurred that would have made The Three Stooges envious.
Unlike COVID-19, the World Series is over. Much like the Stanley Cup and the NBA Finals, baseball’s Fall Classic was like no other. The LA Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays on October 27 by a score of 3-1 in game six to win the World Series 4-2. Due to the pandemic, the World Series was held in a playoff bubble at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas—with limited in-person attendance.
In game six, the Rays had a 1-0 lead with starting pitcher, Blake Snell, having a dominant game. Then Rays manager, Kevin Cash, removed Snell from the game to bring in a reliever. The decision would backfire on the Rays as the Dodgers scored two runs in the sixth inning, with Mookie Betts later adding insurance with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to seal the Dodgers’ victory.
Notably, it was the Dodgers’ first championship in 32 years (when they defeated the Oakland Athletics in five games in 1988). It was the Dodgers’ seventh championship in franchise history. For the Rays, it was their second appearance in a World Series since 2008—when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, also in five games.
Unfortunately, the celebrations were only temporary when it was revealed that Dodgers’ third baseman, Justin Turner, had tested positive for COVID-19. He was removed from the game following the seventh inning after Major League Baseball was informed that he had the virus. Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, stated that Turner was in quarantine inside a doctor’s office located to the side.
Turner refused to listen to instructions from security to immediately leave the field. He was later shown celebrating on the field with his teammates wearing a mask. However, Turner later removed his mask before taking a team photo. Major League Baseball stated the behaviour displayed by Turner risked the safety of his teammates and other staff of the Dodgers.
On October 28, MLB released a statement regarding the incident involving Turner: “Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.”
“While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”
Nevertheless, the World Series had some interesting and wild moments. In game four, with the Dodgers leading by a score of 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Tampa Bay had two men on first and second base. The Rays’ Brett Phillips hit a single towards centre field—bringing in the tying run. Then a crazy sequence of blunders occurred that would have made The Three Stooges envious. Centre fielder Chris Taylor, while trying to glove the ball, had it hit his foot while Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, kept running from first base. Taylor recovered and threw the ball to first baseman Max Muncy, who then relayed it to catcher Will Smith. Arozarena, while running around third base, tripped and fell—and was going to be out by 30 feet. However, Smith dropped the ball and it went several feet behind home plate—allowing Arozarena to dive home with his hands touching home plate—securing an 8-7 victory for Tampa Bay.
Finally, the Dodgers’ Corey Seager won the MVP Award. He was the eighth player (and first player since Madison Bumgarner in 2014), to win both the MVP of the World Series and League Championship Series in the same season. Seager batted .328 in 18 playoff games for the Dodgers. Significantly, no one was more proud of the Dodgers’ World Series victory than legendary retired Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who posted on Twitter: “’55, ’59, ’63, ’65, ’81, ’88, and now 2020. What a year. What a season. What a team. Congratulations @Dodgers.”