Kenley Jansen’s World Series comments will break your heart a little

Adam Weinrib
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 24: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing the game-winning single to Brett Phillips (not pictured) of the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning to give the Rays the 8-7 victory in Game Four of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 24, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 24: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing the game-winning single to Brett Phillips (not pictured) of the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning to give the Rays the 8-7 victory in Game Four of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 24, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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CAVEAT: The Los Angeles Dodgers very clearly made the correct decision in letting the young bull Julio Urias close out the World Series, as opposed to their established closer Kenley Jansen.

Jansen’s fast fade has dominated the discussion these past few seasons, and his struggles were magnified in Game 4, whether he earned the “blown save” (exacerbated by poor play from every single Dodger on the field) or not.

He couldn’t be out there in a tight Game 6. No way, no how. It had to be Urias.

But that doesn’t mean Jansen confessing he wished he’d been able to finally finish things off doesn’t touch us a little.

After all, Jansen has racked up significant chunks of saves ever since his third full MLB season, serving as the Dodgers’ primary closer from 2012-2020.

He’s been a three-time All-Star, receiving Cy Young and MVP votes (15th in 2017!). He’s done everything a manager could ever ask from a converted catcher.

But he’s never closed out that elusive World Series victory. He’s never been the last man on the mound to start the ultimate celebration. And, judging by his trajectory, he never will be. So excuse us if Jansen’s public statements this week bummed us out a bit.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is sad he didn’t close out the World Series.

In the hands of a less empathetic speaker, this might’ve turned into a PR crisis, but not Jansen. All he wants Dodgers fans to know is that he wishes he could’ve been there for them, but he remains happy to have earned a championship no matter who put the final nail in Tampa Bay’s coffin.

This will surely be an overtly emotional season for Jansen. It’s a contract year, and it may be the 33-year-old’s final season in Dodger Blue.

Luckily, Jansen isn’t one of those free agents stuck potentially saying goodbye to a long-time home in a pandemic-dominated season with entirely empty stands.

2021 won’t give us full-capacity crowds at the outset, but things should start to return to relative normalcy by the summer, something Jansen will not take for granted.

No, it isn’t a farewell tour quite yet.

But Jansen got our heart strings plucked several times already this week, and we’re preparing for more waterworks when the stands become a bit more packed.

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