Dodgers News: Austin Barnes Explains Keeping World Series Ball

Austin Barnes went into the 2020 season hoping to bounce back from a down year at the plate. Although that didn’t fully come to fruition, Barnes was instrumental in the Los Angeles Dodgers winning their first World Series since 1988.

The postseason began with Barnes primarily starting in games that Clayton Kershaw was on the mound. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted to not being fond of personal catchers, but he recognized the comfort level and success with a Barnes-Kershaw battery.

Scheduling factors, Barnes’ pitch-framing ability and rapport with the staff earned him more time behind the plate as the postseason progressed. He started Game 6 of the World Series and guided the team through what wound up being a bullpen game because of Tony Gonsolin’s short outing.

Upon catching the final strike from Julio Urias in the ninth inning, Barnes alertly put the ball in his back pocket before joining in on the celebration. It’s a memento he still has after getting it authenticated, as explained during an interview on SportsNet LA:

“I just wanted to make sure it was safe. You never know what happens in dog piles. It gets kind of loud. I know how much this championship meant to the city of L.A. and what that ball meant, so I just wanted to make sure it was safe. … It has a little (authentication) sticker on it.”

While Barnes’ was lauded for a steady presence behind the plate, it was his single off Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell that arguably made the biggest impact. It was just the second hit Snell had allowed but it prompted Rays manager Kevin Cash to turn to his bullpen.

Nick Anderson immediately gave up a double to Mookie Betts, allowed Barnes to score the tying run on a wild pitch, and saw Betts come across on a fielder’s choice, giving the Dodgers a decided lead.

Dodgers sensed opportunity

Cash’s decision to remove Snell immediately sent a sense of relief through the Dodgers’ dugout. “Had he stayed in that game he may have pitched a complete game,” Betts said. I don’t know exactly what would’ve happened, but he was rolling. He was pitching really, really well.

“That was the Cy Young Snell that came tonight. Once he came out of the game it was a breath of fresh air. We’d had some pretty decent at-bats off their bullpen guys, so we figured we could scratch one across since we saw the bullpen guys a little better.”

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