UPDATED with positive COVID-19 test news: The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, clinching the franchise’s seventh world championship and first since 1988. The win secured a 4-2 series victory against the Rays in the playoff finale played in Arlington, TX, the first neutral-site World Series ever thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mookie Betts, the Dodgers’ big offseason acquisition, put the game out of reach with a solo homer in the eighth inning, after the Dodgers used seven pitchers to keep the Rays at bay and were able to erase an early 1-0 deficit with a two-run sixth inning after Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell was pulled.
The victory brought to a close a baseball season unlike any other, owing to COVID-19. The virus even reared its head tonight, when Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner suddenly left the game before the top of the eighth inning; after the game, it was learned he left because of a positive test, the first among MLB players in almost two months. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a postgame interview on Fox that the result was made known during the game, and Turner was immediately quarantined.
Turner tweeted later Tuesday night that he had no symptoms and “I feel great!” He later was seen on the field well after the game had ended.
The league has had to make adjustments all year, starting with shortening its season to 60 games after its originally scheduled March 26 opening day didn’t arrive until July 23, and with several marquee players opting out altogether over safety concerns. Several games had to be rescheduled during the “regular” season because of positive tests, which created problems for the league’s already modified schedule. The postseason’s bubble plan held, however, until tonight’s Turner news, with teams playing their playoff series in designated cities to limit travel.
The season did create some odd moments, from watching the Toronto Blue Jays play “home” games in Buffalo, NY, where their minor-league affiliate plays, and seeing teams during the playoffs teams playing “home games” in stadiums that weren’t their own.
The Dodgers’ last World Series victory came in 1988, highlighted by Kirk Gibson’s famed home run in Game 1 against the Oakland A’s. The franchise won its first World Series in Brooklyn in 1955 before moving to Los Angeles for the 1958 season. In L.A. it won titles in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981 and ’88.
This is the first title for the Dodgers under the ownership of a group that includes investors Magic Johnson, producer Peter Guber and Billie Jean King. The consortium, Guggenheim Baseball Management, acquired the team in 2012 for $2.15 billion.
It’s also the second world championship for Los Angeles this year, after the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th title on October 11 to cap that league’s own shortened season, which was completed in its entirety at one location, a quarantine bubble in Orlando.
Fireworks were heard across the city immediately after the final pitch.
'55, '59, '63, '65, '81, '88, and now 2020.
What a year. What a season. What a team.
— Vin Scully (@TheVinScully) October 28, 2020
California domination once again. World Series champs — @Dodgers!
LA IS 2020’s TITLETOWN. https://t.co/lKlWaENgLZ
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 28, 2020
My Lakers won the NBA title. My Dodgers won the World Series. Now a Biden landslide will begin to salvage 2020.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) October 28, 2020
— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) October 28, 2020
— kuz (@kylekuzma) October 28, 2020
A season unlike any other. ends with triumph for the mighty Dodgers. Congrats to them and the plucky Rays. A very good series. I close my eyes and savor the joys of baseball. For a moment, life is normal and explainable. We cannot give up on this vision. #WhatUnitesUs
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) October 28, 2020