The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday in Game 6 of the World Series to clinch their first championship since 1988.
While things were perhaps a bit more subdued than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent precautions that had to be taken, the Dodgers still took part in a fairly raucous celebration after pitcher Julio Urias recorded the final out:
Although the regular season was only 60 games because of the pandemic, the Dodgers still had to earn their first title in 32 years, as they had few off days during the regular season and had to win four series during the playoffs.
During the Commissioner's Trophy celebration, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts discussed the belief the team had that it would finally win a World Series:
Fox Sports: MLB captured some photos of the trophy celebration:
Winning the World Series was huge for every player on the roster, but it is likely that nobody breathed a bigger sigh of relief that starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
Despite being a three-time Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw has faced scrutiny over the years for his playoff performances. Kershaw silenced the doubters with two wins in the 2020 World Series and talked about what it meant to him to finally be a champion:
While Kershaw was very much in the World Series MVP running, that honor went to shortstop Corey Seager, who swung a red-hot bat throughout the playoffs and hit .400 with two home runs and five RBI during the Fall Classic:
Although winning the World Series for the first time since 1988 was a great moment for the Dodgers and Major League Baseball as a whole, it didn't come without some controversy.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was pulled from Game 6 of the World Series after the team was informed by MLB that his COVID-19 test taken earlier that day came back positive. Turner was reportedly asked to isolate after the game, but he returned to the field and celebrated with his teammates:
While Turner wore a mask much of the time, he was also seen taking it off during a team picture with the Commissioner's Trophy:
MLB released a strongly worded statement regarding Turner's decision to go on the field despite knowing he had tested positive for COVID-19:
"Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night's game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers' victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner's decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply."
When told that Turner and some of those around him were seen without masks during the celebration, Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman called it "not good optics at all."
Turner is set to become a free agent this offseason, meaning the World Series celebration may have been the 35-year-old's final act as a member of the Dodgers.