As the Dodgers storm into the playoffs, let’s look back at how they got to where they are today.
This is the year for the Dodgers. At least that’s what Angelenos want to believe. Should they be encouraged? Yes. Should they also be nervous? Oh, yes. The Dodgers have spectacularly fallen apart in October for several years in a row — sometimes of their own accord.
But this October is different. This year nearly everyone is healthy and they have a new star in centerfield who has shown that he is the real deal.
So before the postseason begins for the boys in blue, let’s look back at some of the more interesting moments of the COVID-shortened 2020 regular season.
Cody Bellinger, the 2019 National League MVP, participated in a press conference before the season started. Equal parts hilarious and lovable.
In what is possibly the greatest highlight, the Dodgers trade for Mookie Betts and sign him to an enormous contract.
Clayton Kershaw’s season debut was a masterclass. He struck out 6 in 5 2/3s and later said his ailing back caused him no pain.
Bellinger’s walk-off over the Rockies.
Betts goes yard, thrice, at Dodger Stadium versus the Padres.
The very next day, Kershaw only gives up one hit to the Angels over seven innings, while Bellinger goes yard, twice down in Anaheim.
Dodgers were down 6-2 at one point, but Gavin Lux’s pair of homers helps lift the team to a 10-9 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2020 will be remembered for many things. For some, it may be known as the year the Dodgers and Giants agreed not to play on Aug. 26 in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin. They played a doubleheader the next day.
On opening day, Betts knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. It was a turning point, as Betts didn’t kneel in 2016 because his father was a military veteran, but has since been better educated and has evolved. “I will never disrespect the flag,” he said, “but there also has to be change in the world.”
After the anthem, players on both teams knelt during a “Moment of Unity,” something other teams in baseball participated in. One player on the Giants chose not to kneel, citing his Christianity. I was not the only one to take issue with that excuse. That player, Sam Coonrod, a second-year Giants reliever, has had a miserable year, and it all started during that opening weekend series against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers rightfully hate the Astros for cheating them out of a World Series in 2017. During the offseason this year, MLB chose not to truly punish Houston, so it was no surprise that when the teams squared off this year, an Astro or two got beaned. The problem is Joe Kelly’s control issue is so bad he even broke a window at his house while trying to keep in shape over the break. So when it was time to face the Astros, he was only able to hit one cheater. Along the way, he struck out Carlos Correa, and when he did, the two got into a squabble that resulted in Kelly delivering a pouty face that has since been turned into a mural. Later, MLB would suspend Kelly for eight games for his bean balls, a penalty that was eventually reduced to five games.