One would say that any high school baseball player would absolutely cherish the opportunity to attend a World Series game or even two of them. For junior Rams pitcher Colby Byrd, this dream would become an ultimate reality.
The hometown Tampa Bay Rays were squaring off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in this ultimate go-hard or go-home series. The series was 2-1 in favor of the Dodgers heading into Game 4 of this best-of-7 series.
As the night of Oct. 23 approached, he was preparing for his short-term stay in Arlington, Texas, by packing his multitude of Rays clothing from hats to shirts to jerseys. His favorite player Ji-Man Choi, the first baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, had already made history in Game 1 of the World Series. He became the first Korean-born MLB player to ever make an appearance in a World Series game.
Yet, Games 4 and 5 of the World Series between the Rays and Dodgers were extremely important as they occurred during the weekend of Oct. 24- 25, a back-to-back showdown on Saturday and Sunday night.
Now you may realize that both teams are not from Texas, and confusion may start to kick into your brain. Wondering why the games are being played there and not in St. Petersburg and Los Angeles, give a special welcome to the coronavirus. This global epidemic has affected the whole sports world in the realm of 2020 as it forced Major League Baseball, the MLB, to hold the entire postseason at neutral sites which included Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego and of course, Arlington, in the Lone Star state of Texas.
Overall, Byrd described his experience in Arlington as “different than any baseball game he has been to before because of how empty it was and how there was such a little amount of people.”
Specifically, Game 4 of the series was one of the most electrifying and thrilling games in playoff history. There were four different lead changes, with one of them coming off the
bat of the Rays’ slumping second baseman Brandon Lowe. Coming into Game 4 having a dismal .123 batting average in all the 2020 postseason, his three-run dinger to left-center field put the Rays on top 5-4, as this moment for Byrd was his favorite but ended up being short-lived. There were two more lead changes after that clutch piece of hitting to get the score to 7-6 in favor of the Dodgers after eight innings of play. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and the Rays down to their final strike, Seminole, Florida, native Brett Phillips came off the bench and delivered a two-run, walk-off single to tie the series at two games apiece.
Unfortunately, the Rays dropped the next two games, and the Dodgers were crowned the World Series champions. However, Byrd exclaimed “it was such a sick experience” even though the Rays didn’t win.