Los Angeles Is The City Of Champions

Freaking Scoreboard.

Jim Rome
October 28, 2020 - 9:19 am
Clayton Kershaw

USA Today

Categories: 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are your 2020 World Series champions. And given how much virtually every last one of you hates the City of Los Angeles, you’re really going to hate what I’m about to say. But the City of Los Angeles is the City of Champions. Freaking Scoreboard, yo: look up at it!!

Last night was a wild night and a couple of the items from last night are getting their own takes, like Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell in the middle of a dominant performance and like Justin Turner testing positive for Covid, but for right now, this isn’t about Cash and Snell or about MLB, Covid and Turner, this is about the Dodgers being World Series champs.

And it’s not about the commissioner and whatever the hell was happening with him last night.

Now you never have to hear about the 32 year drought ever again. It’s over. It’s official. The Dodgers broke through. The Dodgers are your World Series champions.

Clayton Kershaw is a World Series champion. Dave Roberts is a World Series champion. And when the final strike was in the glove of Austin Barnes, the party started in LA.  AND LA PARTIED HARD because it had been a long time coming.

A ton of pressure was released with that win. There are a bunch of guys in that Dodgers’ dugout who were carrying a piano’s worth of pressure on their backs and when that final out was recorded, the piano was picked up and smashed.

Eight straight division titles. Going to the World Series in three of the last four years. And every single year it ended in heartbreak. One year after another, it ended in pain, misery, and second-guessing. No wonder the city and the players were partying so hard last night.

Because this time it ended with a win. This time it ended the way it should end. Because there was no doubt from the beginning of this year who the favorite was. If a season was going to be played, the favorite was going to be the Dodgers, especially with the arrival of Mookie Betts. They were so good, so dominant that David Price opted out of this season and they were still the favorites.

And they played like that in the regular season. And then in the postseason when they swept the Padres in the first round. But then they fell behind Atlanta 2-0 and then 3-1.  They got cold-cocked. It was the first actual adversity they had faced. Now they were tasting their own blood. Now their season was on the brink. Who knew how this crew would react with their backs to the wall? They hadn’t been there before: pandemic aside, it really had been pretty easy this season: it was the Dodgers and everyone else: no one could match their depth and talent; but Atlanta didn’t get the memo: Atlanta had both hands around the Dodgers’ collective throats: the haters were on the top step, just waiting to bumrush Clayton Kershaw and Dave Roberts and call the Dodgers the biggest chokers ever. But they didn’t: they manned the hell up, coming back to win three straight against a really good, really game, Braves team.  

Then got out to a lead in the World Series against the Rays, and lost it, and got it back, and had it ripped from them in the most brutal way possible in Game 4. Now, it’s a best of three, and those haters were top-stepping it again, saying not only were the Dodgers not going to finish, again, but this was going to be the biggest of all their tank jobs. 

Yet,  they bounced right back in the first inning of Game 5 to take the lead and then went up against some serious filth from Blake Snell last night and waited him out, and then wrecked that vaunted rays bullpen as soon as they got the chance.  

As soon as Snell left the game, there was practically a party in the Dodgers’ dugout. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they broke out the champagne right there. Because Snell left after Barnes singled and then Mookie Betts, who was 0 for 2 with two strikeouts against Snell, doubled. 

All it took was three pitches and one swing to let you know the Dodgers were winning this game. The double moved Barnes to third and then he came home and then a wild pitch. 

Again, Kevin Cash is going to get a whole take of his own, but it was only a matter of seconds before that move to remove Snell bit him in the ass. Because Corey Seager broke the tie moments later. 2-1 Dodgers. LA was peaking. They could feel it. And Tampa Bay looked like they’d been punched in the stomach. No, kicked in the package. And it’s because they had. By their own manager.

Julio Urias came into the game for the Dodgers in the 8th and he was masterful, again. For all the faults of the Dodger bullpen at times during the playoffs, in Games 5 and 6, when it mattered most, they were absolutely massive. And Urias was the biggest horse of all.  ALL FILTH. NO FEAR. 

And then, in the 8th, Mookie Betts went Mookie Betts.

 

 

That made it 3-1 and I know it’s just a two run lead, but that ended any doubt about who was winning the game and the World Series. The Rays battle and they never give IN, but by then, they had already had their carved out of their chests. By their own manager. At that point, a two-run lead might as well have been a 20-run lead.

And now the Dodgers are the champs. No more crap about them being chokers or not able to handle the pressure of the moment. No more junk about them being a great regular season team, but not great when it matters most. Because this year, they were great when it mattered most.

And you better not even think about hanging an asterisk on this. That is the ultimate in idiocy. The ultimate in imbecility. It’s just a bad, bad take. And it’s wrong. And yes, you’re entitled to your opinion. But if that’s your opinion, YOU’RE wrong. 

The Dodgers were the best team in the regular season and they were the best team in the postseason. They didn’t fluke their way to this. In fact, unlike every single other World Series champion, they had to play an extra round.

Maybe you should put an asterisk on this to note that it was harder than all the World Series titles that came before it. Because if they lost two games to a good Padres team, none of this ever happens.

Mookie Betts didn’t just live up to the hype, he smashed it. Corey Seager came back from injury and took his game to a new level. Cody Bellinger was clutch in the field and at the plate. Walker Buehler. Urias. I could keep going, but if we’re honest, last night was about two guys: Clayton Kershaw and Dave Roberts.

They’re the two guys who’ve been second-guessed and questioned the most. They’re the guys who took the arrows for everyone else. So it’s only right that when the Dodgers have the ultimate success, they’re the guys who get the ultimate attention.

I don’t care if you love Kershaw or hate him, it’s impossible not to be moved when you see his reaction to the whole thing last night.

As he said: "I was trying to take it all in as best I could. You never really script what you're gonna do or how you're gonna feel, but it was a content feeling. Just like a: 'Job is done. We won. We did it. We won our race, and it's over. We completed our mission.' Just a feeling of contentment. Joy."

Well deserved. And here’s another guy who deserves it: Dave Roberts.

Dave Roberts is never going to make it about him, but I will. Dave Roberts has always been a damn good manager. You don’t have the success that he’s had without being really, really good. And he’s had to deal with a ton of pressure, the kind of pressure that most other managers can’t imagine and will never have to deal with.

Being the Dodgers skipper is harder than it looks. It’s not just a matter of picking names out of a hat and assembling a lineup. Sure, the team is talented, but if you think that’s all Roberts does, you’re an idiot.

He’s always been a damn good manager and now he’s a World Series winning manager.

And I loved Roberts shouting out to the guys from the stage.

Did you catch who was in there? Rick Honeycutt who wasn’t with the team in Texas and Ross Stripling, who was traded in August. He’s thanking a guy who was in the postseason for a different team, but in that moment, when he was on top of the mountain and could’ve told the entire world to kiss his ass, he’s thinking of guys who aren’t there.

That’s what I mean when I say Dave Roberts is never going to make it about him. When he could’ve been telling everyone “how do you like me now”, when he had every right to ask, TELL ME HOW MY ASS TASTE), he’s shouting out to guys everyone else would forget.

That’s what makes Dave Roberts the man that he is. That’s what makes people love him. And that’s a big reason why the Dodgers are World Series champions. And why you better put some respect on him. And to the question of did the actual feeling live up to the expectation? Kershaw said it smashed it:

As Kershaw said "I’ve been saying, 'World Series champs,' in my head, over and over again, just to see if it will sink in. I'm just so very thankful to be a part of this group of guys, and so very thankful that we get to be on the team that is bringing back a World Series to the Dodgers fans after 32 years. They've waited a long time, and to get to do that ... You couldn't ask for anything more. It's incredible."