BLUEPRINT
Baseball America|December 2020
From scouting to player development to analytics to acquisition, the Dodgers cover all the bases as baseball’s model franchise.
BILL PLUNKETT

It’s good to be rich. Always has been.

As one of baseball’s blue-chip franchises, the Dodgers have never been short on resources. The club plays in 58-year-old Dodger Stadium, one of baseball’s crown jewels that draw with nearly four million fans a year and cashes a fat check annually from one of the richest TV deals in professional sports.

But to be rich and smart, that’s when special things can happen. That combination produces things like three National League pennants in four years, a World Series title and a second Organization of the Year award from Baseball America in that four-year span.

“Organization of the Year is an incredible honor,” Dodgers team president and CEO Stan Kasten said of his franchise winning the honor for 2020. “To do that in a year when we won the World Series, to do that in a year when we are also the ESPN Humanitarian Team of the Year, to do that in a year when we are also hosting the largest Covid testing site in America (in the parking lots outside Dodger Stadium), to do that in a year when we opened up the stadium to a massive voting center— these are things that make me very, very proud of our organization.

“I mean, in a difficult year for everyone, the Dodgers have risen above this in a way that very few organizations ever have a chance to do.”

Kasten is justifiably proud of the way the Dodgers met the challenges of an unprecedented season.

On the field, no team was better. The Dodgers’ 43-17 record in the shortened regular season translates to 116 wins in the standard 162-game season.

In the postseason, they went 13-5, dispatching the Rays, Padres and Braves, the teams that had the second-, third- and fourth-best records in baseball, along the way to their first World Series title in 32 years.

That it came in a world of daily testing, coronavirus outbreaks, quarantines, postseason “bubbles,” alternate training sites and a total disruption of baseball’s precious daily routine makes it the most unique success in major league history.

“I think in years past, when I have complained about being overwhelmed or busy—I had no idea what 2020 was gonna look like,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

Third baseman Justin Turner thinks that winning a championship during baseball’s pandemic-adjusted season increased the degree of difficulty.

“In a lot of ways it’s been more challenging (than a standard year),” he said, “with the expanded postseason, the best-of-three Wild Card Series, which presents a lot of challenges that obviously weren’t there before; the 60-game season where a lot of guys didn’t have as many at-bats under their belt or innings under their belt.

“So there’s a lot of things that go into this that you can make an argument to say it might be even more difficult.

“But obviously we understand this is a different season. That was one of the first things we talked about when we got back together— that no matter how many games we played, no matter what the postseason looks like, if there’s a championship to be won (then) we’re going to go after that and do everything in our power to win it.”

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