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What does a World Series title mean in 2020?

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Colorado Rockies analysis and links for Sunday, October 25, 2020

MLB: World Series-Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Game 4 of the 2020 World Series was was one of the best of the playoffs thus far. A back-and-forth affair from the fourth inning on, the Rays and Dodgers put on a show and by the end of the night, the Rays had evened the series after one of the more bizarre walk-off plays I have ever seen in my life.

But what does it all mean? What’s it for? Well that depends on your perspective.

If you’re a Rockies fan, for example, a Rays victory would mean many things. The Rays would leave the Rockies in the very exclusive Never Won a World Series Club, but it might also mean a proof of concept for how a team like the Rockies could leave the club themselves in the near future. It would solidify the postseason legacies of guys like Randy Arozarena and Brett Phillips (!). It would also mean the Dodgers didn’t win.

Now, if they Dodgers do win, that’s when it gets complicated. Does a championship in a 60-game season count the same as a 162-game season? Is the trophy simply a piece of metal? Or would we forced to drop any semblance of a double standard and acknowledge that the Dodgers’ title drought would be over and hope that it would signal the beginning of the end of the Dodgers’ reign of terror?

Here’s what the double standard looks like for those who want the Rays to win or want the Dodgers to lose. If the Rays win, the double-standard narrative will be all about how they endured a crazy season, put up the best record in the American League, navigated the most playoffs we’ve ever had, and defeated the best team in the National League to take home the franchise’s first ever title. If the Dodgers win, it will be the opposite. They played through an exceptionally short regular season, played through a gimmicky postseason and won a title that will forever wear an asterisk.

Part of the problem with this double standard is that any denigration of the team that wins turns into a denigration of all that the losing team legitimately accomplished. And, like it or not, the standard by which you judge could very well be the same standard by which you are judged. Or, put another way, if you’re willing to go there, don’t get mad if someone else goes there at your expense!

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Psychologists call this phenomenon cognitive dissonance.

Whatever it is, it’s been eating at me since the season was announced. How will history treat the 2020 World Series winner? Difficult to say. Personally, I just hope that the Rays can bring home their first title and the Dodgers don’t win that piece of metal. Hopefully that makes me “a first-rate intelligence” and not an outrageous hypocrite.

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2020 is the gift that never seems to stop giving no matter how many times you try to return it. To our readers in and around Estes Park and Grand Lake, stay safe and we’re here for you.

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