What was being celebrated as a stunning victory in conclusion to an unlikely season that happened against all odds, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ win of the World Series left fans ecstatic. However, that euphoria all came to a screeching halt as one man entered the field. After receiving results of a positive COVID-19 test mid-game and being pulled to protect his teammates, third baseman Justin Turner spent the majority of the game watching from isolation in the stadium. Social media exploded as, in the moments after the victory, Turner descended to the field and began embracing teammates, even taking his mask off. Now, questions abound as to whether the Dodgers will face penalties in the wake of their stunning win.
Players Should Have Been in a Bubble
All season, fans have discussed it. “The Bubbles;” designed to keep players safe. As long as they only interacted with people inside of the Bubble, they should have been safe enough. The Bubble encompassed players, coaches, support staff, and the media assigned to cover the Series. Bubbles were created to safeguard players and the postseason after a series of COVID-19 outbreaks in the season caused delays and cancellations. So if Turner was staying in the Bubble, how did he get sick?
Turner’s Early Results Were Inconclusive
Question abounds now over the protocol enacted for testing. Turner received an inconclusive result Tuesday. Critics suggest that should have been reason enough to pull him from the game until a conclusive result could be obtained. However, they opted to let him play while re-testing the sample. Per New York Post, after the same was tested again, it came back positive during the seventh inning of the game. It as at that point that Turner was pulled from the game and placed into isolation in a doctor’s office at the stadium.
Initially, Turner Stayed Away
When the Dodgers won, Turner tweeted, ‘Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA #WorldSeriesChamps.’
But soon, Turner was on the field with his teammates.
Per CNN, “However, he did eventually return to the field to celebrate, hugging his teammates, posing for photos with the roster and at times not wearing a mask, which has led to both the 35-year-old third baseman and the Dodgers organization coming in for criticism.
‘I don’t think there was anyone that was going to stop him from going out [onto the field],’ Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers president of baseball operations, told reporters after the game.
Friedman added that Turner had been careful not to mingle with those he ‘hadn’t already been in contact with,’ but said he didn’t keep an eye on him during the post-game celebrations.
‘If there are people around him without masks, that’s not good optics at all,’ Friedman said, adding that he was ‘not sure’ if the Dodgers would be able to travel back to Los Angeles from their bubble in Texas.”
Can the Dodgers Return to LA?
Although all players were tested again in the wake of Turner’s results, their near future remains unclear. Typically, they would not be allowed to board a plane after such close proximity to a positive person. It’s possible that the Dodgers will face a penalty for allowing Turner to put other players at risk, but outlets are reporting that his teammates insisted he join them on the team. They probably didn’t expect him to take his mask off, but what’s done is done.
For now, the Dodgers will have to answer for their choices, Turner will be held accountable for his, and all fans can do is hope that their Dodgers favorites don’t fall sick after the exposure. The whole season was weird and felt at times alien, so it’s not surprising that the finale had such a controversial and unexpected flavor to it. 2020 is nothing if not consistent at delivering monkey wrenches.