I can’t believe they’re going to punish him. This moron’s insistence on partying *after learning he had COVID* is so quintessentially American that it should be formally commemorated somehow.
He’s practically a mascot for the country’s approach to the pandemic. Trump should make him a special guest at his final campaign rally.
After some scary outbreaks early in the truncated season, MLB players and staff did an amazing job of preventing infections the rest of the way. They made it all the way to the seventh inning of Game Six of the World Series before running into a problem.
But it was a big one, in the sport’s brightest spotlight:
2020 butts its head into the middle of the World Series celebration pic.twitter.com/1421D1sQq2
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 28, 2020
You’re asking yourself, “Why did they let this guy on the field in the first place knowing that he had COVID?” They didn’t know. He had an inconclusive test the day before, which the Dodgers assumed meant that he was okay to take the field. Then, whoopsie:
In the second inning tonight, the lab doing COVID tests informed MLB that Justin Turner’s test from yesterday came back inconclusive. The samples from today had just arrived and were run. It showed up positive. The league immediately called the Dodgers and said to pull Turner.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 28, 2020
That was a major disappointment to Turner, forced to isolate himself literally minutes away from the team’s first championship in 32 years. He’s one of the Dodgers’ star players, someone who suffered through their World Series disappointments in 2017 and 2018. Now, at the moment of triumph, he was being sent away.
But you know what? Compared to not being able to say goodbye to a dying loved one in an isolated hospital ward, or not being able to hold a proper wedding due to social-distancing rules, it’s not much to ask. He can cry into his pile of money. And then, in a week or two, when the virus is cleared from his system, the whole team can have a get-together to celebrate.
Turner couldn’t wait, though. After the final out, he was back on the field — against the orders of MLB security.
As the party raged on, Turner defied orders and returned to the field. He hugged his teammates. He kissed his wife. He sat inches away from manager Dave Roberts—without a mask—to take part in a team photo. In an interview with Fox afterward, Roberts said, “I didn’t touch him.”
When told by MLB security that he had to leave, a person familiar with the matter said, Turner refused. He continued to share space not just with other players who had already been in close contact with him throughout the game, but with his teammates’ spouses, children and other family members who had not been.
Dave Roberts is a cancer survivor, in case you’re wondering about comorbidities. There’s a photo of him here sitting next to Turner, neither man wearing a mask, right after the game. As for Turner’s wife, either she didn’t know why he had been pulled from the game or she really, really loves him because…
This might be the most 2020 photo I’ve seen. pic.twitter.com/VXsTW1ewV0
— Moneybagg Yo(hannes) 🇪🇷 (@AronYohannes) October 28, 2020
In marriage you share everything important. Children, a home, money, deadly respiratory diseases.
MLB is furious that he screwed up their “safety first” approach, and at the last possible moment. They’re investigating, presumably with discipline to come:
MLB statement on Justin Turner: pic.twitter.com/J8S8mVbG13
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 28, 2020
By winning the game, the Dodgers bailed them out of a sticky situation potentially. If Tampa Bay had come back to tie the series and force Game Seven, it’s anyone’s guess when that game would have been played. Conceivably there’s an outbreak brewing within the Dodgers right now, soon to be revealed by subsequent testing. I can imagine being Turner’s teammate and feeling sympathy for his choice to join the team on the field after the game; he’s a key player, he wanted to exult, and so if no one else ends up being infected it’ll be a “no harm, no foul” kind of thing.
But if he ended up passing the virus to me or members of my family? I’d want to choke him with my bare hands.
There’s a lingering question of how Turner got infected considering that the teams were operating inside a “bubble” during the playoffs designed to protect them from contact with the outside world. Maybe — hopefully — his test last night was a false positive, soon to be corrected. Who knows what MLB will do in that case? Discipline would still be warranted because he flouted safety protocols, but it’d be tricky to come down hard on someone who wasn’t actually infectious and who had the very human impulse to relish a moment of camaraderie with friends after a supreme triumph. On the other hand, this meathead’s insistence on putting everyone around him at risk makes it easy to imagine him secretly leaving the bubble and breaking quarantine in the days before last night’s game, picking up the virus on the outside doing whatever he was doing. Incredibly selfish, if so. I hope he’s okay, and I hope MLB makes an example of him.