Thank You, Dodgers, For Winning The World Series
November 2, 2020

It's been almost a week since that final out, and with things calming down, now seems like the appropriate time to write some 'thank you' notes. Yes, this idea is completely stolen from Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show, so while reading this, maybe you can imagine putting pen to paper with the proper music in the background. And Jimmy, feel free to use these if you want. You don't have to pay me or even mention my name, but I am unemployed, so a job writing on your show would be nice (this is formal writing, so I won't use a smiley face emoji)...

First and foremost, thank you, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, for taking Blake Snell out of the game in the sixth inning of Game Six. The numbers say that your former Cy Young Award winner starts giving up hits the third time through the lineup, and you stuck to your guns. Leading 1-0 and striking out Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner twice each of their first two times up, you had seen enough. The Rays business model says take him out, so you did. Betts, who said after the game that he didn't understand the move, and felt “relieved” that Snell was gone, promptly doubled in a run, and later scored from third on a ground ball. For good measure, he would also homer in the eighth for the deciding 3-1 victory, and the first Dodger title in 32 years. You could argue that the Dodgers did the exact same thing a night earlier with Clayton Kershaw when he needed only two pitches to get two outs in the sixth and then was taken out, but Kershaw was a little more tired, and that move worked.

Thank you, Boston Red Sox, for deciding to dismantle your team after winning the World Series just two years ago, and trading your best player Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. Not only that, but when the original deal in February hit a snag because you decided you didn't want Brusdar Graterol from Minnesota, the Dodgers ended up getting him, too. People have already forgotten that David Price was also thrown in because he didn't pitch this year, but he could be an important part of the 2021 rotation for the Dodgers in their attempt to repeat. Betts would have been a free agent at the end of next year, so I guess you felt you had to move him, but he loved LA so much, he signed a 365-million dollar deal to stay another twelve years, even before he took his first official pitch in Dodger Blue. Alex Verdugo is a good player, and Jeter Downs figures to be. Enjoy them both with our compliments.

Thank you, Mark Walter, for your brilliant speech during the trophy presentation. All people want to hear from a billionaire owner is that he is proud of the staff, happy for the players, and that the championship is for the fans of the wonderful city they represent. Instead, you went on for 3 minutes and 21 seconds detailing the entire Covid-shortened year and the recent history of the franchise. If this were the Academy Awards, not only would the orchestra tried to play you off, but if that didn't work, you would have been physically removed from the stage. But not here. You finished your handwritten comments come hell or high water, giving us more time to see cutaway shots of the players on the field with arms around their wives or girlfriends. You talked longer than your underlings, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman (54 seconds), and Manager Dave Roberts (1:26) combined. It's too bad no one will remember one word of what you said.

Thank you, Major League Baseball, for conducting the post season playoff bubble without one positive Covid-19 test until the eighth inning of the final game of the season. Things were running so smoothly, that you made the Dodgers pull Justin Turner from the game with just a handful of outs remaining until the first, and possibly only, championship of his career. As someone (I forget who) outlined on the air, he was contagious in the first inning, in the third, and in the fifth, but had to go after seven. Baseball has done a spectacular job of having everyone protected, and the protocols that were in place had worked like a charm. Admittedly, Turner was selfish when he refused to comply with orders to stay off the field after the game, and made matters worse when he took his mask off during the celebration, but couldn't you have let this one slide? I mean you let him play in the first place. If I understand correctly, this result meant if there needed to be a game seven, it might have been a week or so from now because of the protocols, and, if no one found out, you wouldn't have so much explaining to do, like how test results come back during the middle of a game in the first place.

Thank you, Atlanta Braves, for the great challenge in the National League Championship Series. People already forget that you led that series 3-1 and had the Dodgers on the brink of elimination, but you lost three in a row to put the Dodgers in the series. LA lost only five games in the entire post-season, and three of them were to you, so you have a lot to be proud of. You have Ronald Acuna, Jr., and the Dodgers have Mookie Betts. Both are young and will be fun to watch for a long time.

Thank you, Clayton Kershaw, for not only being the face of the franchise, but for putting things in perspective. You are 32 years old, meaning that the last time the Dodgers won a championship in 1988, was the year you were born. When you came home from that Texas hospital for the first time in March of that year, Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson, and the boys were at spring training in Vero Beach. You have 175 wins and a 2.43 ERA in the regular season in your future Hall of Fame career, but were just 9-11 in the playoffs and World Series entering this post-season. Not being asked to carry the full load anymore, you went 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA in the playoffs, including 2-0 during the World Series, winning two games in a series for the first time in your career. The joy on your face during the celebration said it all, and so did the fact that your teammates and coaches mention you first, when they are asked who they are happiest for.

And thank you, Vin Scully, for remaining part of the Dodger family four seasons after retiring from broadcasting games for 67 years. You turn 93 later this month, and are still so active. You are now on Twitter, sent a video message from your backyard rooting the Dodgers on, and another message asking us to “celebrate safely” after the final out Tuesday night. On the radio post-game show, play-by-play man Charley Steiner reminisced about growing up a Brooklyn Dodger fan in New York, and how he immediately knew he wanted to be a broadcaster after hearing your mellifluous voice on the radio. Steiner said as a kid he would call games in his home, and after this crazy Covid year, ended up calling games at home in 2020. Your “It's time for Dodger baseball” announcement still plays on the radio before games, and has become more famous now than when you said it live during your career. If nothing else, the least we can do is 'pull up a chair', and enjoy the season and the celebration.

Is that all there is?: Maybe it's because of Covid, or the election coming up, or Halloween, the time change, or something, but the Dodger victory euphoria seems to have come and gone in a hurry. People took to the streets Tuesday and Wednesday, mostly with fireworks, music, and crowds (and some isolated reports of violence and looting), but it died out quickly after that. No parade is scheduled, either, and most of the players have gone back to their home towns.

Too much pitching?: To make way for the 'kids' in the pitching rotation (Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias), the Dodgers let Hyun-Jin Ryu go via free agency last winter to Toronto and traded Kenta Maeda to Minnesota (for Graterol). Both Ryu (5-2, 2.69 ERA) and Maeda (6-1, 2.70, 80 strikeouts) have been named finalists for the American League Cy Young Award. No Dodger made the top three for the National League. Betts, however, is one of the three finalists for NL Most Valuable Player (Freddie Freeman, Manny Machado).

Guest shots: Kershaw and Cody Bellinger were on with ABC's Jimmy Kimmel on Friday, both appearing remotely. Kershaw was at his Dallas-area home, and Bellinger was in his car, in a parking lot in Blythe, California on his way to his native Arizona. Kershaw, who is not much of a drinker, said he did partake of champagne during the team's celebration. Bellinger was asked by Kimmel why he looks high all the time. “I'm not high. That's just my face”, Bellinger explained. At the same time the Kimmel segment was airing, Corey Seager was on with Jimmy Fallon on NBC. Kershaw also made an appearance on Ellen today.

Don't forget to vote!: Election Day is tomorrow (Tuesday), and if you haven't voted yet, it's not too late. Even if you haven't registered, you can still vote at a polling place under what they call a provisional ballot. Please note, though, that early voting can actually mean late results. Even if you voted early, some states (California is one) still don't begin tallying the votes until the polls close. Unless the Presidential race is really close, we are likely to know (or at least have a really good idea) who won on Election Night, but for other races and state ballot measures, it could be as long as a week, or more if there are lawsuits (a la Bush-Gore in 2000). With all of that in mind, the first numbers start rolling in at 4pm Pacific Time, when the polls close in battleground states such as Georgia, and most of Florida.

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