A normal 2020 baseball season went out the window a long time ago with the new plan for it to be an 82 game season with drastic changes for the health and safety of players. Many believe the season should be canceled or a World Series title this season would or should receive an asterisk.
On a recent episode of Off Air with Joe and Orel, Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts was asked the question of would the World Series bring the same satisfaction. Roberts mentioned that he believes that such an accomplishment this year shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially with what the world has gone through.
“And to ultimately be the last team standing, I think there’s a lot to be said for that and you can almost argue that it’s harder than something we’ve known and Spring Training starts in February. We do it like we’ve always done it, it’s a grind and there’s a team standing at the end.”
Roberts statement is true, just because the season is shorter, doesn’t mean the World Series doesn’t carry the same weight as any other season. In fact, it would be even harder to win it all this year with a shortened season.
In an 82 game season, every game holds that much more significance. If a team stumbles out of the gate and has poor first couple weeks, such as the Dodgers did in 2018 with an 11-14 record, there’s no recovering from that. Of course, the Dodgers did that year and even had to play a 163rd game to win the division, it would be an uphill battle for that to be accomplished this year. If a star player such as Clayton Kershaw or Walker Buehler goes down during the season with injuries, it would be a huge blow to the team with little room for error. Yes, the Dodgers have the depth to cover injuries but to try and replace the talent of Kershaw and Buehler is difficult, even for LA.
There’s also little time for players to get ready with a rushed Spring Training of only three weeks being proposed by the league. The first couple of weeks of the season will be rough as players will have to work through the soreness or the kinks in their swings/pitching mechanics. Working out at home on a mound or in a batting cage is different than facing live hitters or seeing the spin of the ball out of the pitcher’s hand. It’s not easy to just jump back into baseball and expect immediate results.
Orel Hershiser said it best on the podcast saying that winning the World Series this year wouldn’t hold any greater significance but it wouldn’t hold any less. The Dodgers winning the World Series this year would mean a lot to the city of Los Angeles not just because fans have been yearning for a title for 32 years but because it would give them something to hold on to after being one of the hardest-hit areas by the pandemic in the country.
Listen to the full episode here.