Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Tommy Lasorda, who served as the team's manager from 1976 to 1996 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Lasorda won two World Series titles with the Dodgers, and it was great that he had a chance to see the Dodgers bring home another championship last year.
In fact, while 2020 was a horrible year in many respects, it was nevertheless exciting for many supporters of L.A.'s sports teams, including the Dodgers.
After several seasons of playoff heartbreak, the Dodgers finally rose to the highest peak in Major League Baseball despite all of the mayhem caused by the coronavirus outbreak, taking home the crown for the first time since Lasorda was manager in 1988.
The victory was particularly sweet for Clayton Kershaw, who has clearly established himself as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Kershaw received lots of help from Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and the rest of his teammates during the shortened regular season and playoffs.
The only thing missing from the Dodgers' conquest of the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series was a chance to directly avenge their fraudulent 2017 "loss" to the Houston Cheaters.
----- MANY FONTANA RESIDENTS are proud to be devoted to the L.A. team, and their allegiance was rewarded in a big way in 2019 when the Dodgers Dreamfield was created at Jack Bulik Park in Fontana. The deluxe, universally accessible field is designed for players with physical and intellectual challenges (see accompanying video).
In addition, Fontanans have regularly attended games involving the Dodgers' local California League affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Over the past decade, the Quakes have been just as successful as the Dodgers, winning two championships and posting an overall record of 679-579.
The 2020 Dodgers roster featured 20 players who have worn a Rancho Cucamonga jersey at some point in their career.
Back in 2013, the Dodgers played an exhibition game at the Quakes' stadium, and Lasorda was one of the featured stars at the event (see Shel Segal's interview with Lasorda in the accompanying video).
----- IN ADDITION to the Dodgers, there was, of course, the other L.A. team which achieved championship glory in 2020 -- the Lakers.
Thanks primarily to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers blasted the Miami Heat last October for their 17th title and first since 2010.
The Lakers deserve much praise, as does the NBA, which smartly held its entire delayed playoff tournament in a "bubble" which kept COVID-19 away. (Now, as the new season goes on, the league will have to evaluate whether implementing another bubble would be prudent.)
Fans from Fontana have fond memories of when the team played several exhibition games at Citizens Business Bank Arena (now Toyota Arena) in Ontario in recent years.
ONE MORE L.A. team, the Rams, will have a chance to finish No. 1 after bringing down the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the NFL playoffs on Jan. 9.
However, the Rams face a very tough challenge, because they must travel to Green Bay to face the Packers on Jan. 16.
Fontana has the distinction of having local players on both the Rams and Packers. Donte Deayon, a cornerback from Summit High School, is on L.A.'s practice squad, while Jamaal Williams, also a Summit graduate, is a backup running back for Green Bay.