The Dodgers lead the pack with 5-1 odds, while the 2021 World Series champs The Braves are 11-1.
Sportswriters have some crazy stories to tell, and this is one of them: Tommy Lasorda’s old team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, has opened as the favorite to win the 2022 World Series at MaximBet.
Back in the early 1990s, when this reporter was green as a cucumber, I was assigned to spring training coverage for The Associated Press and found myself at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. The stunning complex built by the U.S. military was discovered and taken over by former team owner Walter O’Malley and general manager Branch Rickey back when the Dodgers still called Brooklyn home.
The Dodgers held spring training there in until 2008, when they departed for a facility in Arizona. It is now called “Historic Dodgertown” and used primarily as a spring training facility for high school and college teams. However, the Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos have held football training camps there, and a baseball team from South Korea worked out there in 2015.
The place is a national treasure, and why the Dodgers ever chose to leave it is beyond rational explanation. Former Dodgers pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo helped keep it from being bulldozed. It is home to numerous baseball fields, many of them separated by citrus trees that bloom with fresh oranges during the spring. In 2019, Dodgertown became the first sports facility to be added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
There is no doubt that Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts and the rest of the Dodgers would love it if they ever got a chance to train there. But alas, those days are gone. Still, the Dodgers are so highly regarded despite their loss in six games to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series that MaximBet has installed them as the favorites at 5-1, just ahead of the Houston Astros (7-1), New York Yankees (10-1) and world champion Atlanta Braves (11-1).
Back to Lasorda.
The late, great jolly leader of the Dodgers was an icon in Los Angeles, managing the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996 and then being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. He managed the team to a pair of World Series titles in 1981 and 1988, and his uniform No. 2 has been retired by the organization. He also coached the United States to an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Anyway, back in the early ‘90s, I was being shown around the facility by veteran Los Angeles sportswriter John Nadel. We were walking through the clubhouse and passed through a corridor. We saw Lasorda sitting on a toilet in a bathroom taking care of his business with the door open.
“Tommy, I want you to meet one of our young new reporters,” Nadel said to Lasorda, who promptly extended his hand for a handshake. Without finishing his business first. No sanitizer, no soap, no hesitation…just a hand.
Thankfully, years and years of traumatic events have erased any memory of whether I actually shook his hand at that moment. But that is a 100 percent true story, and it is presented solely for your amusement. There was nobody quite like Lasorda, who passed away last January at the age of 93.
Of course, amusement is hard to come by in baseball in most locales at this time of the year because of what’s taken place over the past month. The Yankees lost to the Red Sox in a one-game Wild Card playoff, then the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, and Houston defeated the Chicago White Sox 3-1 before the Red Sox lost to the Astros in six games for the American League pennant.
In the National League, the Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a one-game Wild Card playoff, then defeated the San Francisco Giants 3-2 with the help of a terrible checked swing strikeout of Wilmer Flores to end the deciding game. But the Dodgers could not get past the Atlanta Braves, who had handled the Milwaukee Brewers with surprising ease, 3-1.
Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires Dec. 1, so there is some uncertainty as to what the offseason will look like a month from now if no new labor agreement is reached. But cooler heads usually prevail in these circumstances, so even though there may be a delay that keeps free agents from changing teams and trades from being made over the winter months, we should all expect that we will be gearing up for another 162-game season come late-March.
Pretty much every team aside from the Braves and Astros has major decisions to make. And a few of them are being made sooner rather than later, such as the San Diego Padres hiring Bob Melvin away from the Oakland A’s. The Padres have never won a World Series, getting swept by the Yankees in 1998 and losing 4-1 to the Detroit Tigers in 1984. Still, they are carrying the same 15-1 odds as the Milwaukee Brewers, who have not made it to the Fall Classic since 1982.
Baseball is sort of that way, with the same teams perennially competing for the title. The Dodgers have played in three of the last five World Series, the Astros are in the championship round for the third time in five years and the Red Sox expunged their curse and won it all twice in the past nine years.
Here are the odds for all of the teams, according to MaximBet. And if you choose to make a handshake bet rather than a regular wager, just remember that a handshake offer can come at the strangest time in the strangest place, as this Dodgertown story attests. Good luck!
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1
Houston Astros 7-1
New York Yankees 10-1
Atlanta Braves 11-1
Chicago White Sox 13-1
Boston Red Sox 14-1
Tampa Bay Rays 14-1
Milwaukee Brewers 15-1
San Diego Padres 15-1
Toronto Blue Jays 18-1
New York Mets 18-1
San Francisco Giants 20-1
St. Louis Cardinals 25-1
Los Angeles Angels 30-1
Philadelphia Phillies 30-1
Cincinnati Reds 33-1
Oakland Athletics 35-1
Cleveland Guardians 40-1
Seattle Mariners 40-1
Washington Nationals 50-1
Chicago Cubs 66-1
Colorado Rockies 75-1
Detroit Tigers 75-1
Minnesota Twins 75-1
Miami Marlins 80-1
Kansas City Royals 100-1
Pittsburgh Pirates 100-1
Texas Rangers 125-1
Arizona Diamondbacks 150-1
Baltimore Orioles 150-1
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