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Dodgers: LA Columnists Question World Series Title Team from 2020

After the Dodgers lost Game 4 of the NLDS to wrap up their season much earlier than anyone had hoped, three Los Angeles Times writers — Jorge Castillo, Jack Harris, and Bill Plaschke — hopped on YouTube to vent. They, like most Dodger fans, were angry and frustrated, and in the process of their venting, they cast doubt on the legitimacy of L.A.’s 2020 World Series championship.

Castillo: “These guys talk about how this is a crapshoot — small sample size in October, anything can happen. Now we have a 10 year sample size of this team in October — and the only time they won the World Series was when the season was unlike any other.”

Plaschke: “And there’s an asterisk by that [championship] that’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year. That 2020 seems like a fluke.”

Later in the conversation, they talk about statistical probabilities, so we know they’re at least passingly familiar with the concept. So let’s look at the statistical probabilities of winning at least one World Series if you make the postseason ten years in a row, if things really were a “crapshoot,” meaning every team in the postseason has the same chances.

The first seven years, there were 10 playoff teams. In 2020, there were 16, then back to 10 for 2021, and up to 12 this year. So if it’s a crapshoot, the Dodgers had between a 6.25% chance and a 10% chance to win the World Series each year, and their overall chances of winning at least one WS in that decade are 63%.

The Dodgers have won one WS in that time. They might have won another one, but the other team cheated. Not sure if you heard about that or not.

Realistically, one WS and one they got cheated out of is a pretty solid result for ten years. That is, if you believe the 2020 World Series was legitimate, which Plaschke and Castillo apparently don’t. Nevermind that they’re the only team ever to have to win 13 games in a single postseason, including the last 11 while living full-time in a locked-down hotel. Nevermind that all 29 other teams dealt with the same unique circumstances and didn’t win the World Series that year. Nevermind all the arguments that lead to the only logical conclusion, which is that whoever ended up winning the 2020 World Series was going to be legit champions because everyone played by the same rules.

Only four times in this ten-year stretch have the Dodgers been the best team in baseball: 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2022. If the Astros don’t cheat, the Dodgers would be 2-for-4 on World Series titles when having the best record in baseball, which is actually pretty good.

Yes, it was a shocking disappointment for the Dodgers’ 2022 season to end when it did and in that way. But for respected journalists (and Plaschke) to emotionally jump to the conclusion that the 2020 title is somehow illegitimate because of the 2022 NLDS is asinine and ridiculous.

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10 Comments

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  1. Screw the writers. Have any of them actually played the game (above Little League)? I’m proud of my team and what they did this year.

  2. These guys are smoking crack! The playoff schedule was horrendous! Living without your family while under lock-down conditions is awful. Show the players more respect. put down your crack pipe, take some reality pills and call your therapist! Goto Trader Joe’s and buy some cheese to go with your whine!

  3. Your statistical analysis assumes that all teams are exactly equal. Which isn’t true of course. Secondly, the Dodgers assumption that the hottest team wins, not the best has the same flaws

  4. Six of those years have been managed by the very worst handler of post season pitching in modern baseball history. The fact that they gave this person an extention last year is sickening. Dave Roberts is the problem. Maddon, Scoscia…heck, even Matheny would have won at least two more. They understand pitching!!!! And pitchers!!!! Fix this crap now.

  5. could not agree with you more in reference to 2020.and plaske is a fool.espn made him into a clown.and the astros cheated.but i would be less upset if other teams actually beat the dodgers in october rather than beating themselves.roberts is a good guy but this team is crying for a new voice.he is clueless on handling his pitching staff in short series.until he goes,expect more of the same.

  6. every team had an equal chance to make the playoffs in shortened season – the Dodgers fulfilled that step – when the playoffs began, it was the same format as it is for a regular season with 162 games – every team that qualified for the playoffs that year had an equal chance of winning it – The Dodgers – the only asterisk should point out that the idiots in charge mandated a shorter season.

    • Agree completely. The 2020 WS was harder without Home Field. Also; they were 43-17 that year and were clearly the best team from
      Beginning to end.

  7. The Dodger’s, and by the Dodger’s, I mean Andrew Friedman, got rid of the Dodger’s version of Mr. October. Joc Pederson. In fact, he wanted to trade him before 2020 but the deal fell through. Remember when Friedman sent Pederson down to the minors after the AS break in 2017 to work on his hitting? He was hitting .217 at the time. Meanwhile, Cody Bellinger needed to get hot in the final week this season to finish at .210. Max Muncy was given a two-year extension while hitting .196. But the one that takes hypocritical cake was his trade for Joey Gallo, who finished the season hitting .160 and was absolutely useless in the post-season. Chris Taylor, who was given a truck load of money in off-season was just as useless in the post-season. Meanwhile, what happened to James Outman?

    • I wondered why Outman wasn’t brought up at the end of the season – He finished red hot, going for the cycle twice in the same week. And I think it was a mistake to leave Alberto off the post season roster – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Betts had a sub par series without his cheerleader who is his close friend.

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