The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers are meeting in a 2020 World Series that figures to be unlike any in the sport’s history. Rather than hopscotching from California to Florida, baseball’s signature event is being contested at a neutral site — Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex. — in front of a limited crowd.
But if the pandemic upended the traditions of home-field advantage and rabid crowd support — and prompted baseball to expand its playoff field — it didn’t lead to a watered-down World Series. The Dodgers, with one of baseball’s biggest payrolls, had the best record in the sport’s abbreviated 60-game season. The Rays, with one of baseball’s smallest payrolls, had the second-best record. The teams’ combined regular season winning percentage is the highest in World Series history.
The Rays beat the Houston Astros on Saturday night to wrap up a similarly unusual American League Championship Series that was staged at a neutral site in San Diego. The powerhouse Dodgers got to the World Series by beating the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night, completing a rally from a 3-1 series deficit.
Here’s what you need to know about the World Series this year.
When is the World Series?
The World Series began on Tuesday. A potential Game 7 would be on Oct. 28. There are scheduled off days after Games 2 and 5.
How can I watch the World Series?
Fox will televise the series. The entire schedule can be found below.
Where will the World Series be played?
The Rays and the Dodgers are playing at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex. Just as MLB did for the National League Championship Series, it is allowing 11,500 fans into the stadium for each game of the World Series; 10,550 tickets are available for seating at Globe Life Field and an additional 950 tickets available for suites.
Texas is in Phase 3 of its reopening, which allows for open-air venues to seat up to 50 percent capacity. The league has implemented protocols for fans in attendance. Masks are mandatory for all fans except when they are eating or drinking, and hand-sanitizing stations will be available around the ballpark. Tickets are being sold in pods of four; those pods, which cannot be broken apart for separate sale, will be distanced six feet apart.
Which teams are playing in the World Series?
The Tampa Bay Rays are facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
The Rays won Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night to move on to the World Series. After sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round and rallying to beat the rival New York Yankees in the division series, the Rays beat the Houston Astros in the ALCS to win their first American League pennant since 2008.
The Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night. The Dodgers were playing in their fourth NLCS in five years after sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round and the San Diego Padres in the division series. Dodgers President Andrew Friedman once helped rebuild the Rays into a perennial winner as a young general manager in Tampa Bay; he has followed suit in Los Angeles.
What should we know about the teams?
The Rays, built with baseball’s third-lowest payroll, have a knack for developing players who other teams couldn’t figure out. Randy Arozarena, their breakout star this postseason, was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals last winter. Entering the World Series, he has seven playoff homers — a rookie record — and was named ALCS MVP.
Tampa Bay’s bullpen is stocked with pitchers from elsewhere, many of whom throw in the high-90s and fill out a dominant staff. Their rotation is headlined by Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, three pitchers who arrived via trades or free agency. That impressive feat of roster-building for a franchise long known for its ingenuity and innovation has the Rays four wins from their first title, despite a rash of injuries leading into October. Their greatest weakness is likely their offensive depth, though they curb it by relying on a heavy diet of home runs. In the first three rounds of the playoffs — series wins over the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros — the Rays scored 41 of their 57 runs via 25 blasts. The Dodgers’ pitchers will have to hit their spots.
The Dodgers possess one of baseball’s most powerful lineups, packed with all-stars and an MVP candidate in Mookie Betts. When Los Angeles signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million deal before this season, he was seen as the final piece to their championship puzzle. They’ve won their division in each of the last eight seasons, playing in the NLCS five times. But their two most recent World Series trips, in 2017 and 2018, both ended with losses. Now, though, with Betts heading a stacked lineup and his glove stealing homers and extra-base hits, the Dodgers have upped their usual dominance, which could end nearly a decade of playoff heartbreak.
Along with Betts, the Dodgers’ offense is paced by Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Will Smith and Cody Bellinger, the reigning National League MVP. Their biggest questions concern rotation depth and late-inning relief. But when their bats get hot, the pitching only has to be good enough. That’s the version of these Dodgers that is very tough to beat, and that could claim the franchise’s first World Series title since 1988.
What are the new rules?
Several new rules introduced in 2020 remained during the postseason — including the universal designated hitter and the three-batter minimum for pitchers.
But the regular season rule that put a runner on second base to begin each extra inning is not in effect during the postseason.
Why is it called the World Series?
The first modern World Series took place in 1903 in a best-of-nine series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Americans. The name can be traced back even before that, to 1884, when the Providence Grays of the National League beat the New York Metropolitan Club of the American Association in what was originally called “The Championship of the United States.” The Grays were later celebrated as “World Champions” by several newspapers, and academics claim that the title “World Series” later underscored the game’s global significance and was established as a marketing tactic to attract fans to the ballparks.
Who has won the most World Series?
The New York Yankees have won 27 World Series titles and have appeared in the Fall Classic a record 40 times. The St. Louis Cardinals are second all-time with 11 World Series championships.
World Series schedule
Best-of-seven series; Arlington, Tex;, all times Eastern
Game 1: Dodgers 8, Rays 3 (Dodgers lead series, 1-0)
Game 2: Rays 6, Dodgers 4 (Series is tied, 1-1)
Game 3: Dodgers 6, Rays 2 (Dodgers lead series, 2-1)
Game 4: Rays 8, Dodgers 7 (Series is tied, 2-2)
Game 5: Dodgers 4, Rays 2 (Dodgers lead series, 3-2)
Game 6: Dodgers 3, Rays 1 (Dodgers win, 4-2)