On a hot Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, when Vin Scully broadcasted the final home game of his magnificent 67-year career, a 10th-inning home run by unlikely hero Charlie Culberson clinched the fourth straight National League West Division title for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The contribution by Culberson symbolizes what has gone on for the Dodgers all year. From the beginning of Spring Training, injuries have threatened to decimate the team's hopes for a playoff berth, but somehow an unknown player would deliver a necessary lift, enabling the Dodgers to dream of playing in October.
First-year manager Dave Roberts wouldn't let the Dodgers give up on themselves no matter how bad the situation looked. He constantly hollered encouragement from the dugout. At times this season Roberts wouldn't know who would make a start until the game before. He didn't panic as injuries forced him to use 15 different starters.
Roberts' extraordinary communication skills allowed for this improbable division title. He used players in unfamiliar roles, but no one complained. In the bullpen, whose ERA is the best in the NL, only Kenley Jansen has the same role he had at the beginning of the season.
Although the Dodgers bullpen has pitched the most innings in the league, no reliever seems tired. Since 2013, the bullpen was a weakness, but in this unforgettable season it has been a strength that the Dodgers hope to use in the postseason to bring the city of Los Angeles its first World Series championship since 1988.
Roberts has earned the respect from his players. He took over for popular manager Don Mattingly and had no managerial experience. No one knew what to expect from Roberts or his new coaching staff. Their upbeat attitude helped to propel the Dodgers to be successful.
Roberts explained to the veterans what was going on and why he was doing a certain thing. He has a belief in the rookies' abilities to contribute to the team that the organization has not seen since Tommy Lasorda managed 20 years ago.
Even though many people will think Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs deserves the NL Manager of the Year as he has piloted the Cubs to the best record in baseball, with all of the adversity that Roberts has faced in his first year as Dodger manager he should be recognized with the award.
The 2016 Dodgers let a kid lead them into the playoffs. Corey Seager has provided a steady presence at shortstop and in the lineup. He is the team's best all-around hitter. Sunday he had a triple that drove in the tying run in the seventh inning and a dramatic two-out, ninth-inning, game-tying home run. He has been delivering exactly what the Dodgers needed to win.
Nothing has fazed him. When Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies injured his thumb in early August and was out for the rest of the season, Seager became the favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year.
Seager has the most hits by a Dodger rookie in history. His 26 home runs are the second on the club, and he has the most hits and the highest on-base percentage on the team. Many people think Seager deserves to be the league's MVP.
Superior defense allowed the Dodgers to go to the playoffs. When the Dodgers don't commit many errors, their injury-riddled pitching staff doesn't have to face extra hitters. All the Dodgers have extraordinary range at their position. Except for Howie Kendrick, all their outfielders have strong throwing arms. The Dodgers understand the fundamentals of baseball, so their opponents usually have to get hits to score and field the ball cleanly to retire the Dodgers.
While the baseball world mourns the death of Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who at 24 was an incredible talent, every Dodger fan is jubilant. To clinch the division, the Dodgers gave us an epic game that will endure in our memories for a long time and gave Scully a tremendous thrill for his last home game.
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.