A Dodger Fan’s Walk Down 32 Years of Dodgers Baseball Leading to a World Championship

Is this real life? Rethink the phrase you’ve been waiting 32 years to hear: the Los Angeles Dodgers are World Champions!

The Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays four games to two, wrapping up the seventh World Championship in franchise history, and the first since 1988.

Where were you in 1988? I couldn’t tell you. I was but two years old. I know I watched it, but can’t remember a thing about it except for stories told to me by the three most important Dodgers historians of my life, my grandpa, Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin.

In 2007 I was asked to be a part of a very special project that allowed for me to take this experience to the next level and I helped a friend create DodgersNation.com. There were reported on a lot of great news, rumors and more, and there has been lots of great memories including the Dodgers trading for Adrian Gonzalez and the late-night deal bringing Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers.

Speaking of Ramirez, who remembers all the bad luck the team had over these 32 years? It seemed as if the Dodgers were finally primed to break their bad streak of luck in 2013 before Joe Kelly beaned Ramirez and took him out of the National League Championship Series.

The Phillies haunted us, and home runs like Matt Stairs moonshots off of Jonathan Broxton. Then there was Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter and those same Cardinals always seeming to find a way to get to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in the seventh inning.

What was it about the seventh inning? Every year! And each year there was a new reason to cry about, and a different person to blame.

For years it was Kershaw. It was Broxton too. It was Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen.

Public enemy No. 1? Dave Roberts. Why on earth has Roberts made so many baffling decisions over the years? I can’t explain that to you. What I can tell you is how ironic it was that Kevin Cash, the manager of the Rays, made a Roberts-esque move in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, pulling Blake Snell who was cruising.

His line:

5.2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 9 K on 73 pitches, 48 for strikes

Cash decided to pull Snell and rush to his bullpen following an Austin Barnes single.

Then the floodgates opened up, and the Rays became the ghosts of Dodgers’ past. Cash was Roberts, and Nick Anderson became Pedro Baez, and even trusty Pete Fairbanks became Kenley Jansen. The baseball Gods decided it was time for the Dodgers to stop suffering and finally pull through.

It began with a 43-win season that projected to 116 wins in a full season, continued with a 3-0 sweep of the red-hot Padres that everybody was picking to be darkhorses to win the trophy, then kept going as the Dodgers came back down 3-1 against the Braves, and finished tonight with a 3-1 victory over the Rays.

The future Hall of Famer has got his ring. Are there any more doubters?

Legend has it that Babe Ruth turned the tide on the luck of the Boston Red Sox. He won three rings with the Red Sox and then went on to win four with the Yankees. Then had last won in 1918 and waited all the way until 2004.

Dodger fans waited only 32 years, but wow was that long, and hey, we really have Mookie Betts to thank, and many are comparing him to Ruth, and well, he broke whatever curse haunted the Dodgers, and his home run in the 8th inning of Game 6 cemented things.

To think that trade almost didn’t go through. The Dodgers decided to trade for Brusdar Graterol, a vital piece to the bullpen at the end of the season, when the Red Sox decided they didn’t want to take a chance on Graterol’s injury history. It cost the team Kenta Maeda, but gave both players a huge opportunity.

Thank you Twins and Red Sox. We miss you Alex Verdugo, but wish you all the best in Boston. Jeter Downs and Connor Wong will be productive too.

Thinking back to these 32 years I think about Vin Scully and all the lessons he’s taught. Tonight he talked about adding 2020 to the list we’ve talked about for so many years. And we all know them: 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988 and now 2020.

What is Tommy Lasorda thinking? The greatest franchise in sports is victorious once more and rules Los Angeles alongside the Lakers!

A big shout out to Mike Brito for finding Julio Urias on the Yasiel Puig trip. A 16-year-old amateur ball player closed out not only the NLCS but also the World Series. He proved he has ice in his veins and surely will figure into more Dodgers history in the coming years of his career.

How about some random names to remember from over these years?

Andre Ethier

Matt Kemp

Shawn Green

Paul Lo Duca

Adrian Beltre

Kevin Brown

Brad Penny

Eric Gagne

Matt Herges

Casey Blake

Rafael Furcal

Steve Finley

Mike Piazza

Gary Sheffield

Joel Guzman

Jerry Sands

I can go on and on with names. And you can share your favorites with us in the comments.

For now we’re World Champions. One last note and you know I was going to bring it up, the cheaters. Two failed World Series bids in 2017 and 2018, and a bid in 2019 that was fizzled by a red-hot Nationals team that won its championship a year ago. Thank you old friend Howie Kendrick for knocking us out.

Asterisk, a world we grew to know and love this year. It built a chip on the shoulders of a group of ballplayers that loved each other so much that they stuck together through thick and thin and fought back despite disaster such as Game 5 of the 2017 World Series and Game 4 of this year’s World Series.

Alex Cora

Another random name for you that’ll go down in infamy. The Dodgers could have more hardware if not for Cora. They confronted those Astros this season and the aforementioned Kelly went from being foe to hero, making the famous gesture we all know and love, upsetting Carlos Correa, who it was directed at.

The Dodgers hurt them where it count, on the scoreboard, winning three out of four games.

That loss was one meltdown by Jansen that made all fans cringe and wonder if a championship was even possible.

Urias begged otherwise.

The next thing Dodger fans can beg for is COVID-19 to chill out. Justin Turner tested positive tonight and was pulled during the 7th inning. The rest of the players will immediately receive a test.

We want the virus to calm down because every fan wants to be at Opening Day 2021 when the Dodgers get their much-awaited World Championship rings.

To conclude this walk down memory lane, I’m going to leave you with some more names; the heroes, our World Champion, Los Angeles Dodgers!

Clayton Kershaw

Walker Buehler

Julio Urias

Tony Gonsolin

Dustin May

Kenley Jansen

Blake Treinen

Brusdar Graterol

Pedro Baez

Victor Gonzalez

Joe Kelly

Jake McGee

Dylan Floro

Adam Kolarek

Alex Wood

Will Smith

Austin Barnes

Max Muncy

Corey Seager

Justin Turner

Edwin Rios

Matt Beaty

Mookie Betts

A.J. Pollock

Joc Pederson

Cody Bellinger

Chris Taylor

Kike Hernandez

Thank you, guys. You have made our lives feel a little more complete tonight, and congratulations on winning the 2020 World Series! Go celebrate responsibly and have fun. You guys are amazing!

The final note is much-owed congratulations to Corey Seager on winning the World Series MVP award. You put the team on your back and charged toward that finish line!

We look forward to more Dodgers baseball in 2021! They have a championship to defend! Go Dodgers!