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Protested Giants-Dodgers game was 'galvanizing' for WS champs

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For all the delays and concerns that came before it, the 2020 World Series proved to be pretty memorable. The decision by Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash to pull Blake Snell is one that'll be discussed for years, and in a very 2020 moment, the final outs of the season were almost overshadowed by a positive COVID-19 test for Justin Turner, who went back out on the field to celebrate the first Los Angeles Dodgers championship in more than three decades. 

It was a fittingly crazy ending to the 60-game season, and while the Dodgers didn't get to have a parade or celebrate with their fans, they're still riding high. Manager Dave Roberts was all smiles when he met with reporters over Zoom on Thursday, saying the initial feeling of relief was soon replaced by joy. 

"I'm still on a high, in a joyful state," Roberts said.

It took a lot to get there, though, and when he was asked which moment from 2020 stands out the most, Roberts quickly pointed to a night at Oracle Park, not one of the many wins at Dodger Stadium or in the postseason bubble. 

"I think the easy answer is that day in August. We were in San Francisco and ultimately Major League Baseball and the players decided to protest a game," Roberts said. "That day was really something that I'll never forget."

The Giants and Dodgers were supposed to play a night game at Oracle Park on Wednesday, August 26. Instead, the sides put out a joint statement and postponed the game because of the shooting of Jacob Blake. It was one of several powerful moments at Oracle Park during a season when the public push for racial equality often took center stage. 

 

"Having players really vulnerable and kind of talking about their feelings and concerns and thoughts and misunderstandings of the black player, that was really powerful," Roberts said. "Then obviously with myself, Clayton, Mookie, Kenley addressing the media, and then even the next morning talking about potentially playing or not playing. Ultimately we decided to play.

"I think for me that was very galvanizing and allowed for us to get through whatever situation we were going to have to face going forward to finish the season out."

The Dodgers swept a doubleheader the next day and never looked back. They easily won the NL West, survived a tough matchup with the Braves in the NLCS, and ended their drought in the World Series. They remain the team the Giants are chasing, although thus far they've had a quiet offseason. Roberts said he would like Turner, a free agent, back in the lineup, and noted that the team could use high-leverage arms for the bullpen and one more right-handed bat. 

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A loaded roster should get a boost from the return of David Price, who opted out of the 2020 season. Beyond that, Roberts said he wouldn't be opposed to shaking it up a bit. He noted that bringing in fresh faces can keep a team from getting stale as it looks to repeat.

"I do think that adding new pieces is always welcome for me, but they've certainly got to be the right pieces," Roberts said. 

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