MLB World Series
The 2020 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's 2020 season. The 116th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays and the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers defeated the Rays to win the series in six games for their first championship in 32 years. Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager was named the World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) after batting 8 for 20 with two home runs, five runs batted in, and an on-base percentage of .556.
The series began on October 20 and ended with Game 6 on October 27. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all games took place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, making this the first World Series to be played at a neutral site, as well as the first since 1944 to be held at only one ballpark.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Main article: 2020 Major League Baseball season § Schedule
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) agreed to shorten the standard 162-game season to 60 games, the shortest since 1878. They also agreed to hold an expanded 16-team playoff tournament for only the 2020 season. In addition to each league's three division winners, each league's three division runners-up qualified, and two additional wild card teams per league qualified based on win-loss record. The first round was the Wild Card Series, a best-of-three playoff where the higher seeded team hosted all games. After that, the postseason maintained its standard format of a best-of-five League Division Series, best-of-seven League Championship Series, and the best-of-seven World Series.
Globe Life Field
Rays manager Kevin Cash (top) and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts
After COVID-19 outbreaks among several teams resulted in the postponement of about 40 regular season games, MLB and the MLBPA agreed to hold the division series, league championships, and World Series in protective "bubble" environments at neutral sites to limit the chances of experiencing another outbreak. MLB chose Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, as the site of the 2020 World Series. The Texas Rangers, who play their home games at Globe Life Field, failed to qualify for the postseason. It was the first time since the 1944 World Series (played between the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns, who both used Sportsman's Park as their home) that the entire series is held at one ballpark. While fans were not permitted to attend MLB games during the 2020 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed his hope that fans would be able to attend the World Series in a limited capacity. This proved prescient as it was announced on September 30 that fans would be able to attend the NLCS and World Series at 25% capacity, allowing a maximum of 11,500 people to attend each game at Globe Life Field. Both teams stayed at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas as the designated bubble hotel.
Tampa Bay Rays
Main article: 2020 Tampa Bay Rays season
The Rays made their second appearance in the World Series in franchise history and their first since 2008. They finished the shortened regular season with a 40–20 (.667) record, the best in the American League. They then swept the Toronto Blue Jays in two games in the Wild Card Series, defeated the New York Yankees in five games in the Division Series, and defeated the Houston Astros in seven games after leading 3–0 in the League Championship Series.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Main article: 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The Dodgers made their 21st appearance in the World Series, passing the Giants for most all-time in the National League, and third in four years, having lost in 2017 and 2018. They finished the shortened regular season with a 43–17 (.717) record, the best in all of MLB. They then swept both the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series and the San Diego Padres in the Division Series, before defeating the Atlanta Braves in seven games in the League Championship Series after trailing 3–1 in that series.
The 2020 season rule change, calling for each extra half-inning to begin with a runner on second base, was not implemented for any postseason round, including the World Series.
This was the fourth time in the Wild Card era when both teams with the best record in each league faced each other in the World Series. This had previously occurred in 1995, 1999, and 2013. Additionally, the Dodgers and Rays combined for a .692 winning percentage in the regular season, the highest combined regular-season winning percentage for a World Series matchup ever, surpassing the 1906 World Series between the Cubs and White Sox (.690).
This was the first World Series to feature two cities that held either the NBA or the NHL title the same year, as the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Finals on October 11 and the Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2020 Stanley C.