ARLINGTON, Texas.- There were no players to jump on top of their teammates as soon as the last out fell. Neither could the champagne baths be appreciated.
Rather, there was a mask that covered each face as the Dodgers celebrated the World Series title that they had not achieved since 1988 and that came in a campaign that no one could have imagined before the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dodgers also started the party without Justin Turner, their red-haired and bearded star, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the end of Game 6, which sealed the coronation.
Turner was pulled from the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays after posting the first positive coronavirus test in the Major League Baseball in 59 days. The third baseman was not on the field while the Dodgers did what they could to celebrate in the most unusual season of all.
The 35-year-old, an iconic Dodgers presence during their seven of their eight consecutive NL West titles, returned to the field with his wife about an hour after the game, taking photos with him. World Series trophy.
He received a big hug from his longtime partner Clayton Kershaw and sat front and center for a group photo.
“Thanks to everyone who has asked. I feel great, without any symptoms,” Turner said on Twitter a few minutes earlier. “I just experience all the emotions you can imagine. I can’t believe I can’t be there to celebrate with my guys! I’m so proud of this team and incredibly happy for the city of Los Angeles.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed the positive result moments after presenting the World Series trophy to the Dodgers. It was a reminder of all that has been different in this campaign shortened to 60 games by the pandemic.
Before all those disruptions from the global health crisis, Mookie Betts had come to the Dodgers with a mission to make a difference in the World Series. With a wild run to the plate, he did just that.
It was the end of a frustrating title drought for Los Angeles – and it may just be the beginning for Betts and the Dodgers.
Betts scored the lead run on a ground run by Corey Seager in the sixth inning and then led off the ninth with a home run that extended the Dodgers’ lead.
“I just came to be a part of this. I’m happy to contribute,” Betts said.
To be crowned again, the Dodgers had to play 5,014 regular-season and 114 postseason games since Orel Hershiser struck out Tony Phillips of the Oakland Athletics for the last out of the 1988 World Series, the same year lefty Clayton was born. Kershaw – a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner and who took credit in Game 1 and Game 5 of this Fall Classic.
Kershaw was warming up in the bullpen when Julio Urias struck out Willy Adames to end the series. The star ran with his teammates to celebrate on the diamond – where many players and coaches wore masks at the end of a campaign carried out amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles had fallen short of the scepter twice in the past three years. And Betts was in the other dugout two seasons ago with the Red Sox. But before this season, Boston loaned Betts, the 2008 AL MVP, to join the Dodgers in a trade.
Los Angeles then signed the talented outfielder to a 12-year, $ 365 million contract, which expires in 2032, when Betts turns 40.
Betts’ 3.2-second run from anteroom to plate was just enough to beat first baseman Ji-Man Choi’s shot and give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead moments after Rays manager Kevin Cash , knocked out star left-hander Blake Snell, despite his dominating performance of 5 1/3 innings.
Randy Arozarena, the dangerous rookie slugger, extended his postseason record with his 10th home run in the first inning off right-hander Tony Gonsolin, the first of seven pitchers for the Dodgers. The Rays didn’t move another running back past second base as the Los Angeles bullpen gave Tampa Bay’s potent pitching staff a spoonful of their own medicine.
About two and a half weeks after the Lakers won the NBA title at the conclusion of the campaign in the Orlando bubble, the Dodgers gave Los Angeles a new championship this year, when the coronavirus pandemic delayed, slowed and changed from host sports seasons around the world.