From empty stadiums to automatic baserunners, the 2020 Major League Baseball season was unlike any before it. But out of the pandemic-shortened campaign came one heck of an October delight. The expanded playoffs gave fans no shortage of thrills and monumental moments that will live on for years to come.
Before the offseason officially gets going, let's look back at the best moments from the 2020 postseason.
The 2020 playoffs got started with an epic pitcher's duel between the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. NL Cy Young favorite Trevor Bauer held the Braves scoreless for 7 2/3 innings, while Max Fried countered with seven shutout frames of his own, and both bullpens dug in their heels from there. It took until the 13th for Freddie Freeman to finally end it with an RBI single that kick-started Atlanta's run to the NLCS.
Cody Bellinger put a bow on the Dodgers' NLCS comeback with this home run that eventually stood up as the pennant-winning jack. His casual bat drop and strut said it all.
It's hard enough to hit a normal opposite-field home run. Not only did Ronald Acuna Jr. go for an oppo taco to open Game 1 of the NLDS against the Miami Marlins, but he jacked this leadoff homer into the upper deck. The Braves ran away with this game and the series, and naturally, Acuna didn't stay quiet about this homer.
The Tampa Bay Rays may have fallen short of a championship, but they did gift us Randy Arozarena. The Cuban rookie assumed legend status in October, becoming the only player to ever hit 10 home runs in one postseason and catching Derek Jeter's rookie playoff hits record. The craziest part of his story: He's still eligible to win Rookie of the Year in 2021.
It was the matchup that Twitter had been waiting for. In Game 5 of the NLCS, Dodgers catcher Will Smith stepped in against Braves reliever Will Smith for what was the first at-bat in playoff history to feature a pitcher and batter with the same name. L.A.'s Smith won the epic at-bat by launching a long - and as it turned out, very important - three-run homer.
The Houston Astros' comeback in the ALCS fell one game short, but Carlos Correa did his part to ensure it won't be forgotten. Correa uncorked a mammoth walk-off home run off Nick Anderson to end Game 5 and was not shy about admiring his work as he left the batter's box. Hey, when you save your team's season like that, you deserve to strut.
San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. announced his arrival to October baseball with a bang, tossing his bat aside in epic fashion after an opposite-field homer in the wild-card game. He truly is the king of bat flips (and he's not bad at other things, either).
From start to finish in 2020, the Dodgers were baseball's best team, and they showed it on the biggest stage. In Game 6, they finally put their playoff demons to rest with a dramatic come-from-behind win to give the franchise its first World Series title in 32 years. For fans in L.A., it was certainly worth the wait.
Bellinger made the catch of the playoffs when he robbed Tatis of a home run in straightaway center field. It instantly became one of the most memorable postseason catches of all time - and Dodgers pitcher Brusdar Graterol knew it, judging from his memorable celebration.
Five weeks after Aroldis Chapman ignited a benches-clearing incident at Yankee Stadium by throwing a fastball over Mike Brosseau's head, the Rays' undrafted infielder got his revenge by sending a 100-mph fastball over the left-field wall for the series-winning home run. Brosseau's shocking homer ended an epic 10-pitch at-bat against Chapman and was a fitting finish to a tight, testy, and fantastic division series between two bitter AL East rivals.
One of the most exciting playoff games in decades ended on a bizarre, heart-stopping, and instantly iconic walk-off play courtesy of unlikely hero Brett Phillips. Game 4 was everything that's great about baseball. It simply doesn't get better than this.