Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen celebrating with his family and the World Series trophy was a long time coming.
That awful, sinking feeling only grew stronger after Game 4, a contest in which Jansen’s blown save was somehow only one-quarter portion of the discussion after a loss unlike any we’ve seen, especially not during the Fall Classic.
If the Baseball Gods simply didn’t favor Jansen and Kershaw in years past, they were outright laughing at the Dodgers vets and flaunting their power this time around, dealing Jansen a completely unique failure while setting Kershaw up to be the hero or goat in a pivot-point Game 5.
Would you believe, though, that Kershaw came through? That the bullpen picked their leader up not once but twice in Games 5 and 6? That the Dodgers shook off a loss of the ages to hoist the hardware just a few days later?
That calls for celebration, and Jansen, who’s been with the big club since 2010, got to shake off a difficult decade with his family by his side on the plane home.
Relax in it, Kenley. You have certainly earned some time off.
The long-time Dodgers closer was bitten with further regression in 2020, but you can’t discount the severe mitigating factors here. Already dealt a bad hand with a congenital heart condition, Jansen tested positive for the coronavirus before reporting to Summer Camp, and still posted a 3.33 ERA and 33 Ks in 24.1 innings in the shortened campaign.
Entering his final season in Dodger Blue under his current contract, we’re certainly glad Jansen finished off this massive milestone before his walk year.
When the team returned to LA on Wednesday night after clearing one final hurdle of controversy in the wake of their win, you could see the exaltation on everyone’s faces, as Mookie Betts lifted the trophy with pride.
For players like Jansen who’ve known so much regular season success and October troubles, the veil has officially been lifted, though.
We’re so glad he got to celebrate all the way home with his enthusiastic loved ones, who definitely get it.