It’s almost too saccharine, as an Angeleno, to think about the perfectness of the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the World Series in the same year that the Lakers won the NBA Championship.
It’s almost too dramatic, the redemption arc for a baseball team based in the City of Angels — the cinematic capital of the world — for whom the Dodgers finally clinched a World Series victory after losing two back-to-back World Series in 2017 and 2018, the former which involved one of the most egregious cheating scandals in the history of sports.
It’s almost way too good to be true that all of this happened in Los Angeles, a city and county that continues to tread through civil unrest and deaths from a global viral pandemic that continues to cast a shadow over the country.
It’s a beautiful, perfectly-tied-up-in-a-bow conclusion to a weird, confusing MLB season, but stranger things have happened and all that matters to Angelenos is the joyousness and pride of back-to-back celebrations of LA’s greatest sports organizations.
The Dodgers were the favorite to win and did not disappoint, pulling off an impressive Game 6 win against the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 28.
The series was filled with twists and turns, especially the disastrous defensive play at the end of Game 4 on Saturday, Oct. 24 that angered Dodgers fans everywhere.
But come Games 5 and 6, the Dodgers came back around and eventually won the organization’s seventh World Series title, their first since 1988.
“As soon as it became clear that the Dodgers would win, I immediately called my dad because he would always replay the 1988 World Series and the legendary [outfielder] Kirk Gibson,” Kyle Mendoza, a 43-year-old Filipino nursing assistant in Pasadena, told the Asian Journal, referencing the iconic pinch-hit walk-off home run hit by Gibson who previously sustained injuries.
Those living in LA proper didn’t need to watch the game to know the Dodgers won the World Series. As soon as the final inning ended, illegal fireworks, cheers and car alarms sounded off in classic LA fashion. News coverage showed fireworks going off in multiple neighborhoods, prompting law enforcement to cite individuals for illegal fireworks.
“It was insane!” said Miriam Nunez, a half-Filipina, half-Mexican mother of two in Lincoln Heights. “We’ve been waiting for this for so long and the whole cheating scandal [in 2017] and [the Dodgers] losing in 2018 was too much, but as fans, you gotta keep cheering them on, even during the difficult times.”
Nunez told the Asian Journal that she believes that the Lakers winning the NBA Championship just weeks ago provided a “boost of morale” for the city.
“We’ve been through so much. We lost Kobe, we’re living in this crazy pandemic, so these two wins were really needed, I feel. I think there’s a lot to be said about the healing effects of sports, especially in LA where we’re all so passionate about our teams, almost to a fault,” Nunez added.
For the Dodgers, the 32-year gap between World Series wins is one of the longest droughts in MLB history, making Tuesday’s win all the more sweet for the team that has been poised to win the title for years.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Dodgers have won more regular-season games since 2012 and spent almost more money (second to the New York Yankees) on players and front office staff than any other team. The Dodgers remain one of the glitziest teams in the league with iconic logos, stadium and, of course, geographical and spiritual adjacency to both the Lakers and Hollywood.
But as said in the old book, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, in Mendoza’s eyes.
Though Mendoza is a die-hard Dodgers fan, he recognizes when his own team makes mistakes and this time, that mistake involved fan-favorite third baseman Justin Turner.
Turner sparked massive controversy after it was revealed that he knowingly tested positively for COVID-19 and participated in post-game festivities with his teammates anyway. Turner’s coronavirus test results came back positive in the late innings of Game 6, when he was immediately pulled from the game and quarantined.
But after the Dodgers won the game and the World Series, Turner was seen in close quarters with not only his teammates, but also his wife, the families of his teammates, executives, league officials and press members.
“That was incredibly disappointing to see. One minute I was cheering for my boys in blue and then to see Turner, whom I love and we all love in the Dodgers family, acting irresponsibly,” Mendoza said.
“As someone who works in the medical field and has been a huge voice for being responsible during the pandemic, that was so frustrating to see. Especially after seeing how successful the NBA was in containing the virus,” Mendoza noted, referencing the zero positive coronavirus results that came from the NBA’s intensive efforts in “the bubble.”
“But, all in all, this was really really necessary for us. Sports brings people together, and it’s been so refreshing to feel that closeness with other fans even if it’s just through social media,” Mendoza added.