We'll get to the more critical pieces later. but man, how tough was it for the Los Angeles Dodgers to watch the Texas Rangers, with a number of their former players and a couple of their former enemies, capture the 2023 World Series in five games over the Arizona Diamondbacks?
The Dodgers' imprint on the Rangers is notable. We actually made fun of Texas for a number of moves they made leading up to the 2023 season because it really felt as it they were trying to copy Los Angeles. Turns out, they did, and they did it better. And they didn't need Clayton Kershaw.
Let's start with the obvious. Corey Seager! A Dodgers legend who left after the 2021 season because LA either didn't want to pay him or saw the free agency writing on the wall with Scott Boras. Either way, it all looks even worse because Andrew Friedman let Trea Turner go the next offseason, too.
Seager took his $325 million from Texas and delivered in Year 2 of his contract, acting as the primary catalyst in the team's run and capturing his second World Series MVP, which now puts him in a category of his own. MLB history.
Seager was a homegrown Dodger who was one of the few that rose to the occasion in October. His resume wasn't spotless, but he had displayed enough as a developing player to reveal he was a high-pressure performer.
Dodgers watching former players (and enemies) deliver Rangers World Series is rough
We'll leave it at this: Seager had 18 runs scored, 6 home runs and 12 RBI in 17 postseason games this year, which includes matchups against the three best teams in the American League.
Next up? Enemy Bruce Bochy, who captured his fourth World Series ring after securing his first three with the San Francisco Giants, as he bested the Dodgers many a time in the NL West en route to those titles. He was probably already a Hall of Famer, but this win undoubtedly punched his ticket to Cooperstown.
And the last of the featured acts in Game 5 was Josh Sborz, the former Dodgers reliever who was dumped off the roster after the team signed Trevor Bauer. Sborz was later traded to the Rangers in 2021, settled in their bullpen, and just went on an historic run this postseason (12 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 13 K).
Bauer, a wasted move. Sborz, a reliever the Dodgers' rickety bullpen could've desperately used. It's all looking worse and worse by the hour.
And then we have the supporting acts. Nathan Eovaldi started Game 5 and logged six scoreless innings. We'd highlight him a bit more but he was a Dodger over a decade ago. Still, would've been nice had the Dodgers maybe signed him this past offseason when they needed starting pitching? On this playoff run, Eovaldi made six starts,during which he totaled 36.2 innings. He allowed just 12 earned runs on 12 hits and 10 walks while striking out 41 batters.
Andrew Heaney got the win in Game 4 with his impressive five innings of work. Foremost enemy Max Scherzer did just enough (scoreless 3 IP in Game 3) with his balky shoulder despite nearly being the reason for the Rangers' collapsed momentum in the ALCS. He left with an injury in the World Series and former Dodgers division rival Jon Gray picked up the slack, recording another three scoreless frames.
The turnaround the Rangers made to win the franchise's first ever World Series after six straight playoff-less seasons has somehow bested whatever the Dodgers have accomplished over the last decade. All it took was an odd assortment of former Dodgers and a few of their familiar enemies to go from a 94-loss team to a champion during a full 162-game season -- something LA hasn't fulfilled for their city since 1988.