The end of a baseball season, even one as short as this one, always brings melancholy. With Daylight Saving Time ending at Sun at 2AM, the days will grow short, too. For a half-filled-glass kinda guy, it will be suck-it-up, hope-for-better-days time.
There is no doubt that the LA Dodgers deserved to win the Series. Smooth shortstop Corey Seager was a worthy MVP for his offensive production and fine defense.
LA hit and pitched more consistently than the Rays whose lack of offense except for the rookie Randy Azorarena was disappointing if not appalling. Randy was also handled fairly easily with men on base.
For a season to end with shortstop Willy Adames taking the last two strikes in a three-pitch punchout from the nearly-flawless Julio Urias was tough to handle. Highly touted prospect Wander Franco may be replacing Adames in 2021. I would have liked Willy to have gone down swinging.
Or manager Kevin Cash use a pinch-hitter for him. It was Cash's first World Series as a skipper and he didn't seem to manage with urgency. He could have pinch-hit more often for great defender/weak-hitting catcher Mike Zunino.
I was glad Zunino got his first World Series hit in his last AB in the Series. And gotta love a guy whose parents were both catchers - they met when father Greg, now a Cincinnati scout, was playing in Italy and his mother Paola was playing for the Italian national softball team.
Props to Mike for thanking his wife when interviewed after a big game earlier in the playoffs. But backup Michael Perez might have been used more. I know during the regular season every time he came up against the Orioles he seemed to deliver a big hit.
The classic game was the fourth one, a back and forth affair that ended on a game-tying single by reserve Brett Phillips and two rare errors by Chris Taylor bobbling a single in center field and Will Smith muffing a relay throw not realizing that Arozarena had fallen down between third and home.
The real turning point int he Series came in game 5 when the Dodgers immediately scored two runs in the top of the first to wrest whatever momentum the Rays might have had from the previous night's victory.
The old cliche came true again: "Momentum in baseball is the next game's starting pitcher."
Tyler Glasnost simply did not rise to the occasion in game 5. After Manuel Margot was caught stealing home to end the bottom of the 4th after the Rays scored two runs, it was up to Glasnow to pitch a shutdown top of 5th.
He couldn't do it. He gave up a solo home run to Max Muncy to give LA breathing room.
Props to the Dodgers for scoring so many runs with two outs. More than I've ever seen.
Where Kevin Cash is really being roasted is for yanking Blake Snell in the final game after the 2018 Cy Young-winner had thrown only 73 pitches with nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 superb innings.
Snell deserved to face Mookie Betts for a third time despite the infuriating "advanced metric" that said it is a no-no. Even Betts said after the game he was glad Snell was gone.
Somewhere in this land and in baseball-loving nations around the world, here's a hope that young pitchers are growing up dreaming of pitching in big games and embracing the challenge of going through an order three times or even more. It is called pitching.
Lord knows what kind of season and what kind of country we face in the weeks and months ahead. As a Wisconsin Badger fan, I first suffered the loss of a basketball season where Greg Gard's unheralded squad won the last eight games of the season and a share of Big Ten title when the pandemic hit.
Football got off to a flying start last Friday with Grahem Mertz's nearly-perfect five touchdown game against Illinois. And then he tested positive for covid-19 as did his backup QB and coach Paul Chryst and several other players and staff. The game against Nebraska has been canceled with no makeup planned and Mertz will be out for at least two more games.
I haven't even mentioned that the Dodgers' leader and big run-producer Justin Turner tested positive, a result known in the 2nd inning of the last game. But he wasn't removed until the 8th inning. He was then allowed, unmasked, to join the post-game celebration.
In a country where our POTUS is behaving similarly, I worry about the validity of polls showing his likely defeat. We've been through that before. "We're all in this together" doesn't apply for at least 40% of the country and probably a majority of athletes.
So let me return to my half-filled-glass state and hope for the best in our country and also for some kind of satisfying regular season in 2021. With also fewer minor league teams axed. Alas, there is no indication that any reasonable solution is at hand.
Nevertheless, always remember: Take it easy but take it!