By Lesly Gonzalez
Southern California turned blue Oct. 27 as the Los Angeles Dodgers became the World Series champions for the first time since 1988.
This year’s MLB season was full of mixed emotions. Not only were sports put on hold for some time due to COVID-19, but the Los Angeles Dodgers made it to the World Series for the third time in four years – with the previous two appearances being lost in heartbreak and marred by a cheating scandal by their opponents. .
The Dodgers faced the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series and lost in seven games. Then the Dodgers made it to the World Series again in 2018 against the Boston Red Sox. That series was devastating as well, as the Dodgers won only one game and lost an 18-inning game three that ran seven hours in usual brutal fashion.
But the offseason saw the Dodgers sign star Mookie Betts from those Red Sox and the wheels were put in motion for their past demons to be exorcised.
“I thought the Dodgers had it in their pocket after the last game,” said Alan Rodriguez, a fan from Riverside. “But after seeing Randy Arozarena from the Tampa Rays, (hit) a homerun in the first inning against the Dodgers, I’m not sure anymore.”
The Rays led the game 1-0 until the sixth inning. Tampa Bay pitcher Blake Snell struck out nine Dodgers and allowed only two hits through the sixth, shutting down Los Angeles’ offense. Fans were nervous.
But the Dodgers scored two runs immediately after Snell was removed from the game. Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes reached home on a wild pitch by reliever Nick Anderson after Betts doubled. With Betts on third after the wild pitch, series MVP Corey Seager hit into a fielder’s choice. As it did all post season, Betts speed and baseball IQ proved beneficial as he beat the play at the plate to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
“This win will mean so much for us,” said Oscar Gonzalez, a Dodgers fan from Corona, as he awaited a Los Angeles triumph. “We have waited years for a championship. It’s been 32 years since the Dodgers won a World Series.”
Betts provided one more insurance run by taking Pete Fairbanks deep in the bottom of the eighth inning. Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias closed out the game and fireworks went off across Southern California in celebration.