The 2020 MLB season will be remembered as an anomaly for a sport that has historically followed tradition. The National League will use a designated hitter for the first time in history. With just 60 games, this season will be the shortest major league season in 142 years. Oh, and let’s not forget about putting a runner on second base in extra innings.
Purists are up in arms.
Whether you’re a baseball purist or progressive, there’s a strong case for either side regarding whether the last team standing truly deserves to call themselves “World Series Champions.”
Dodger infielder Max Muncy seems to think the changes to this season have no effect on the legitimacy of the title.
“A World Series is a World Series,” Muncy told Scott Miller of Bleacher report.
“To me, if anything, winning a World Series this year would almost be tougher because certain teams get really hot for a month or two and then cool off, and if we’re going to play a shortened season, whatever team gets hot early can ride it out, and if they start to cool off, there might not be time to catch up. You’re going to see teams make the playoffs that haven’t made the playoffs in a long time.”
There is a lot of truth in Muncy’s comments. Teams rely on a full 162-game season to work out their kinks before the end of September. With only 60 games to work with, every game matters. The margin for error is minuscule. Losing two 3-game series back-to-back––that’s a tenth of the season, mind you––is more detrimental this season than in any other season.
Take a look at the last year’s World Series Champions. By game number 60 in 2019, the Washington Nationals were in fourth place in the NL East with a record of 27-33. With their divisional positioning and their record by game 60, it’s hard to imagine D.C. would even play in the playoffs.
Short season or not, there’s no doubt that winning a championship this year would provide some joy and levity for the fans of the winning city. 2020 hasn’t given the people a lot to smile about. However, as representatives of their respective cities, teams will be fighting for the people and the places they call home.
As Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto expressed earlier this year, “the more I think about winning the World Series this year, I think it’s freaking worth more.”
The Dodgers are no strangers to winning championships in abbreviated seasons. The legitimacy of their championship run in 1981 is called into question on occasion due to the split-season that resulted from a player’s strike. Los Angeles hasn’t won a World Series in 31 years, the 10th-longest drought in the league.
But would Dodger fans be satisfied if that drought ended during the 60-game season? Ask yourself this does a Championship in 2020 hold the same weight as the championships that came before? Yes, the road will be filled with more obstacles. And sure, the fans will (probably) still be happy. But are parity and city love qualifiers for a bonafide championship?
Let us know what you think in the comments!