Updated: Apr 1
Coming off a World Series victory, the Dodgers look to play in strong fashion while the Angels look to make it to the postseason for the first time in seven years.
Analysis by Benjamin Royer, Staff Writer
Cue the organ and the sound of the crowd, baseball season is back in Los Angeles with two of the most talented teams in the sport.
Coming off their 2020 World Series win, the Los Angeles Dodgers have bolstered their pitching staff as the San Diego Padres look to become their main competitor in the National League West. The Los Angeles Angels, on the other hand, look for a healthy season. Injuries have plagued the Angels in the past, but as we enter Opening Day the health is there to compete.
“Opening day is special — that’s an honor — but the home opener this year is very special,” said Dodgers Pitcher Clayton Kershaw in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “The first time at Dodger Stadium with fans after winning the World Series for the first time in 32 years. … Whether there are 10 fans or 2,500 fans or 10,000 fans, whatever it is, it’s gonna be a special day for all of us.”
With a large burden off Kershaw’s shoulders as he picks up the ball for Opening Day in Colorado, the future Hall of Famer has a stronger team around him than years prior.
With the addition of Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers’ rotation and the return of David Price from sitting out the prior season, the Dodgers have more pitching depth than all other Major League teams. All three of Kershaw, Bauer and Price are former Cy Young award winners. There is a comfortability the Dodgers can experiment with as the team looks to play in October again.
Dodgers’ outfielders Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger have both won the Most Valuable Player awards in the past. They will compete for this honor again this season. That one-two punch that they bring to the lineup is unlike any amount of star power that the Dodgers have brought in the past, with reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager looking to join the hunt.
The Angels are hoping for success in Joe Maddon’s second year as team manager. One of the most successful managers of this baseball generation, Maddon won the World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 2016. He will want to repeat his success in Chicago with the Angels.
“He’s all about having fun, but having a purpose — being free,” said Angels Outfielder Mike Trout in an article with the Los Angeles Times. “And I think all the guys are starting to buy into that.”
Mike Trout has been the consensus best player in baseball since he debuted in 2011, but this is his best chance at getting back to the postseason since 2014. Players like Trout are usually shoe-ins towards playoff success, but he has not had that opportunity with the Angels.
Trout is a part of the Angels’ own star trio. Third-baseman Anthony Rendon joined the Angels before last season and quickly cemented himself as a team leader. Pitcher and Designated Hitter Shohei Ohtani is the most fascinating player in baseball. Ohtani, the Japanese “Babe Ruth” as he’s been proclaimed by media outlets around the world, has an elite ability to both hit and pitch.
If all three of their trio can stay healthy, playoff success can be at their doorstep. This hopefully brings postseason games that Halos’ fans will have the chance of seeing inside of Angels Stadium.
As reported by the Valley Star, Dodger Stadium shall hold fans for the upcoming season. LA County and Orange County have officially been moved into California's orange tier which will allow for 33 percent attendance in each stadium. As the season goes on and tiers change, more fans will be allowed access to watch America’s pastime.
At Dodger Stadium, protections have been put in place to make it as safe of an experience as possible. Groups of people will sit in pods, socially distanced from other people around them. Usage of masks and an online food delivery service will be used to make sure people stay safe.
Angel Stadium will use similar protections as they keep fans safe in Orange County. Both stadiums are trying to ensure a safe ballgame atmosphere as fans trickle back into the stadium.
Both the Dodgers and Angels will attempt to capitalize off the fans in the stadium as the cheers of the crowd carry them to success in the regular season. The 162 game season starts this Thursday with the Dodgers in Colorado and the Angels hosting the Chicago White Sox at home.