WORLD SERIES: Tampa Bay vs. Los Angeles

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We will have a World Series in 2020. Back on March 12 when all the games stopped, that likelihood could not have been remotely considered. But after much negotiation, MLB and the MLBPA settled on a 60-game sprint of a season, 30 games at home, 30 on the road. 

Playing during a pandemic is never advised. There were many obstacles like playing games with no fans and in front of cardboard cutouts, and testing members of the media by checking their temperature before entering games.

It’s been a challenge, but so far no positive COVID-19 test for me. That has been a blessing. Sitting in press boxes with a mask on is no fun—no ability to eat hot dogs and peanuts. Man, we have to overcome this coronavirus.

So far 220,000 have died in the United States. Millions of jobs have been lost. The sports world has leaned on the communications industry, radio and television, to survive.

I’m talking financially. The networks, local and regional television and radio have been the life blood. It has kept many from losing their minds. Television has suffered steep losses in ratings. 

The viewership of the 2020 NBA Finals fell about 50 percent compared with 2019.They were not alone. MLB’s playoffs Division Series, hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals, the U.S. Open and French Open, tennis, golf’s U.S. Open—all have fallen by at least 40 percent.

Due to lots of factors all related to the pandemic, all the sports leagues were playing simultaneously. The NBA Finals are usually in June in the summer. The Stanley Cup Finals are usually in May. 

People are not getting together as much for health reasons due to the virus. Our habits are changing using cells phones and streaming. And with no fans, the events lose their impact and seem not as important. It’s a strange time, but football the NFL is king. Then comes baseball, so the World Series is usually at this time and there will be some fans, so we’ll see.

Here’s the bottom line: The National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers were 43-17 and hit 116 home runs, the most in MLB. They are a big market team, Los Angeles, with a big payroll and big expectations in the number-two television market. They beat Milwaukee, San Diego, and rallied to survive Atlanta in game seven.

American League Champion Tampa Bay is in the World Series for just the second time. They were 40-20, the second-best record in MLB. They beat Toronto and the New York Yankees in the Division Series in game five. 

And in ALCS they won game seven over the Houston Astros, the 2019 World Series runner-up and most hated team in MLB history, surviving the cheating scandal. They are small market, small budget. They are talented and lean heavily on power pitching. 

Here we go, the Fall Classic in prime time. Will anybody watch it? The Dodgers have not won since 1988. That should finally end in 2020.

About Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald is a longstanding contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday and Friday at 9:10 am, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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