Sports Rays, Dodgers grateful to have fans at neutral-site Series

10:55  27 october  2020
10:55  27 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Their fans have tagged along, traveling en masse, increasingly more so as the wins have Loyalties seemed split throughout the National League Championship Series -- but then the Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Atlanta Braves, welcomed the small-market Rays and basically took over.

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Individual whistles echo during quieter moments, and a single fan with enough persistence can leave an impression with a chant during World Series games with the smallest crowds in more than 100 years.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd © Provided by The Canadian Press

Because of the coronavirus, this year's Fall Classic is being held at a neutral site. A team from each coast is playing in Texas, drawing fans from Los Angeles and Tampa, Florida — along with curious Rangers supporters seeing the home squad's new retractable-roof stadium for the first time.

The roughly 11,000 mask-wearing fans each night — well, they're supposed to be wearing face coverings — are roughly 11,000 more than players saw in the stands during the regular season and all of the American League playoffs. So 40,518-seat Globe Life Field might as well be full as far as the Tampa Bay Rays are concerned.

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Dodgers beat the Rays 4-2 to lead the series 3-2 games. Kershaw got his second win of the Series on Sunday, and Tony Gonsolin starts Tuesday against the Rays ’ Blake Snell. “And I’m just so grateful that the deal was done because it’s not only helping us this year, it’s going to help us for the

But the Dodgers came right back behind Clayton Kershaw and Joc Pederson and Max Muncy and the kind of relief pitching they had to have , all the way through Blake Treinen remembering how The first neutral - site World Series has the Dodgers and Rays both calling Arlington’s Globe Life Field home.

“It certainly sounds like there’s 40,000 people in there,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Now, they might be 35,000 Dodger fans, which is OK. Any type of loudness and energy, that creates a lot in the dugout. That creates intensity. It’s loud and it’s been really refreshing to get to play with fans.”

To Cash's point, there has been plenty of Dodger blue visible for each of the 12 games with limited crowds since the start of the National League Championship Series two weeks ago. The 13th will be Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, with Los Angeles in position to win its first title in 32 years.

That also means plenty of masks with the iconic interlocking LA logo since face coverings are required except when fans are “actively eating or drinking” — an activity apparently more loosely defined by some.

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There's plenty of elbow room on the concourses, and fans in clusters of four are separated by at least one row above and below them. Mask compliance on the concourses is close to 100%, while in the seats about one in four can be seen either without a mask on, or with the covering pulled down around the neck.

Many of these fans, though, are used to being crammed into the corridors of, say, Dodger Stadium, in the post-season.

“It’s great that it’s empty and it’s clean and it was easy to get in,” said Ana Chacon, born, raised and still living in Los Angeles County. “But it sucks that not everyone got to come. And it sucks that it’s not in Los Angeles.”

Game 1's restricted total of 11,388 was the smallest Series crowd since 10,535 attended Game 6 in 1909 between the Tigers and Pittsburgh at Detroit’s Bennett Park, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Roger Maris holding a baseball bat: Roger Maris’ peak was amongst the best in baseball, but it was short, and there were a lot of valleys around it. Forbes reports that the two-time AL MVP is most famous for breaking Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record with 61 in 1961. That said, the right fielder only managed a .269 batting average that year, and a .260 career BA, which isn’t all that impressive. Maris developed hand problems and had a relatively short career from 1957 to 1968, and hit 133 of his 275 career dingers in a three-year span with the Yankees from 1960 to 1962. Considering even casual baseball fans know his name, you’d expect more from Maris’ overall numbers.

It's the first World Series played entirely at one ballpark since 1944 between the Cardinals and Browns at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis — and the fourth overall. The Yankees and Giants shared New York’s Polo Grounds in 1921 and 1922.

Jacob Ornelas grew up in the Dallas area before returning to his native El Paso. He still makes it back for Texas Rangers games, and would have been at Globe Life Field's first opening day had fans been allowed.

Ornelas went to games at the original homes of the Rangers, since-demolished Arlington Stadium, and watched them in the World Series a decade ago at Globe Life Park. The open-air facility is still standing across the street from the new place.

He was standing in a concession line, trying to keep his social distance, on a concourse with large dots everywhere reminding people to stay 6 feet apart. Just like with the masks, some lines were compliant, others not so much.

“It takes away from the experience overall, but not my experience as far as being here the first time, being in a World Series,” Ornelas said. “It’s a World Series, not the regular season. The crowd, the noise.”

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At a neutral - site World Series , that would only be magnified over a long series . “I totally understand why they're doing it this season Under his proposal, there would be no off days between games, as was the case during this year's league championship series (which also were played at neutral sites ).

Rays ' Randy Arozarena scores the winning run against Dodgers as his teammates celebrate in Game 4 on Saturday. (Associated Press). “We have to digest it, but we have to turn the page.” It began with the flare, a soft line drive into center that Roberts never thought would end the game.

Los Angeles pitcher Tony Gonsolin said he noticed a stronger presence of Dodgers fans in the World Series compared to the NLCS, which might have to do with the Atlanta Braves having a strong national following themselves. LA beat Atlanta in Game 7 to advance.

“Overall, it’s a little bit louder,” Gonsolin said. “Those exciting moments are a little more exciting. It’s just a fun atmosphere.”

The retractable roof has served a purpose as well. It was open for the first two games, when the temperature at first pitch was in the low 80s during a usually mild time of year in Texas.

It was about 30 degrees cooler for Game 3, so the roof was closed, then reopened with a game-time temperature of 57 for Game 4. A cold and rainy Sunday closed the roof again for Game 5.

It's almost certain to remain closed for Game 6, and, if necessary, Game 7. The final two nights in Texas will be classic fall weather straight out of New York, Boston or Philadelphia — temperatures in the 40s, with possible drizzle or light rain.

“Regardless of the limited amount (of fans), I think the stadium does still get loud, especially with the roof closed,” Tampa Bay outfielder Austin Meadows said. “It is nice to have that and kind of earn that, especially with this year going through so much and not having anybody in the stands. Getting to experience that here in the World Series is special.”


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Schuyler Dixon, The Associated Press

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