MILWAUKEE — The 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers have spent nearly seven months tormenting themselves and their fans, operating as if a pennant were their birthright. They tantalized with their talent and tortured with their results. They lost games when they shouldn’t have, but won every game that needed to be won. They required 163 games to win the division. If the commissioner’s office at Major League Baseball would have allowed it, the Dodgers would have taken the National League Championship Series to Game 8.
The route back to the World Series may have been circuitous, a journey of fits and starts and lineup alterations, but the destination remains as sweet. Because for the second season in a row, the Dodgers will reign as champions of the National League, downing the Milwaukee Brewers with a 5-1 victory in Game 7 of the NLCS. The Dodgers operated in this series as they have all season: They played themselves into a corner, and then muscled their way out.
The emotion and elation of this trek manifested in the persona of one man, Yasiel Puig, as he rounded the bases in Saturday’s sixth inning. He had just launched a three-run homer to break the tension of the early going. Upon contact, Puig flipped his bat. As he rounded first base, he turned to his dugout and chopped at his crotch. At third, he thumped his chest. After touching the plate, certifying his blast in Dodgers history, he wagged his tongue and accepted the adulation of his teammates.