The championship reflected an unusual dedication and commitment, but it also helped that the Dodgers had Betts, whom they acquired from the Red Sox in a trade in February. The superstar right fielder added a special dynamism and confidence to a lineup that was already stacked with stars like Cory Seager, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner, the third baseman that the Mets gave up on before he became one of the most dangerous hitters in the Dodgers’ postseason history.
And it took Roberts to bring everything together. The Dodgers manager since 2016, Roberts helped his players block out the simmering pressure that built to a rolling boil over nearly a decade of frustration for a passionate fan base that never seemed to give up, packing Dodger Stadium regularly despite year upon year of letdowns.
World Series: Game 6
In his fifth season at the helm, Roberts directed the team to the best regular-season record in the major leagues for the second time in his tenure and helped guide it back from a three-games-to-one deficit against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series this month. But that would have meant nothing if the team had failed in the World Series for a third time in four years.
After the Dodgers finished off the Braves, Roberts stood at a podium and, with the crack of emotion in his voice, declared: “This year is our year. This is our year.”
He was right. His approach, combined with a lineup of indisputable talent earning the second-highest payroll in baseball (behind that of the Yankees), proved too much for the Rays, a plucky, overachieving squad with a pre-pandemic opening day payroll of only $72 million, the fourth lowest in baseball.
The Series went back and forth through five games, but in the sixth, the Dodgers proved their superiority and their resilience, rallying after falling behind in the first inning. They had lost in shocking fashion on Game 4 on Saturday, when the Rays scored two runs on a pair of fielding mistakes with two outs in the ninth inning.
But Los Angeles came back to win Game 5 behind Clayton Kershaw, their star pitcher who has faced criticism in recent years for failing to reproduce his regular-season superiority whenever the calendar turned to October.