On October 27, in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Julio Urias threw a 97 MPH fastball to Tampa Bay Rays’ shortstop Willy Adames, to clinch the team’s first championship since 1988. Their first title in 32 years means much not only for the players who constantly fell short of winning a championship in recent years, but also for the fans of the team who experienced the same suffering and heartbreak over the last three decades, and especially the last eight years.
The year that started my fanhood of the Dodgers, and the now eight-year run as division winners, began in 2013. After a slow start, the Dodgers recovered to clinch the National League West division and advance to the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Dodgers ended up disappointingly losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), which would be a common theme for future years.
The next three years for the Dodgers featured the team continuously falling short of a World Series appearance, despite making numerous roster changes and having high expectations coming into their seasons. However, 2017 looked like and presumably should have been the Dodgers’ year. The team finished with 104 wins and cruised to the World Series as favorites to win the championship against the Houston Astros. And in arguably the most entertaining playoff series of all time, the Astros beat the Dodgers in seven games; the closest the Dodgers had ever been to a World Series title since 1988. Even though the series ending was extremely devastating to all Dodgers fans, having attended Game 6 of the World Series that year and seeing them come just one win away from the championship, was the happiest moment that I had felt as a Dodgers fan before 2020.
2018 featured another run to the World Series, but this time losing to a much more talented Boston Red Sox team in five games. And to cap off the last year of the Dodgers failed run to a world championship, last year’s team which won a franchise high 106 games, heartbreakingly lost in the NLDS.
For a huge Dodgers fan who has experienced these seven straight years of heartbreak, the championship in 2020 was one of the most meaningful moments to me in my life. Although some believe that this year’s champions deserve an asterisk as the season was only 60 games, due to the pandemic, instead of the usual 162 games, the turbulence and challenges that all the players have faced this year in 2020 while navigating through a season affected by a pandemic, makes the Dodgers championship just as legitimate as any other team that is crowned victorious at the end of an MLB season.
The seven straight years of disappointment and 32-year title drought for the Dodgers organization will forever make the 2020 Dodgers title remembered in the hearts of Dodgers fans and players who were a part of this bittersweet eight-year journey.