Justin Turner celebrated World Series title despite positive COVID-19 test

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 02: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 02, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 02: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 02, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Dodgers star third baseman Justin Turner received news of a positive COVID-19 test in the middle of Game 6.

This story only belongs in the year 2020. Only in the middle of a global pandemic could something like this happen. In normal years, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner would still be sifting through hundreds of congratulatory calls and texts after winning the World Series on Tuesday night.

He would probably be coordinating with friends the date of the champions parade in Los Angeles. He may have even been planning a celebratory vacation with his family. But, not this year.

Instead, Turner is dealing with an official MLB probe into his actions following the final out of the Dodgers’ clinching Game 6. Admittedly, Turner is at fault in this situation.

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As Bob Nightengale of USA Today so poetically described, the MLB was just innings away from pulling off the impossible: completing its 2020 season in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, after a series of events and questionable actions from Turner, the MLB is left with a huge scar on the end of a phenomenal season.

Rewinding back to Monday, Turner was administered a routine COVID-19 test as part of the league’s health and safety protocols. Then, in the middle of Game 6, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred received news that Turner’s test came back positive.

According to reports, he immediately phoned Dodgers owner Mark Walter and president Andrew Friedman to remove Turner from the field as quickly as possible.

Turner did leave the field in the 8th inning and was placed in isolation. This is where things get tricky. Less than an inning later, Julio Urias let out a ripping roar of celebration from the mound after striking out Willy Adames. The Dodgers officially capped off a world championship with this Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

While throughout the on-field celebrations that are customary after a World Series victory, Turner returned to the field to celebrate with his teammates. Despite his own knowledge of his positive COVID-19 test.

According to the league’s official statement, Turner “emphatically refused to comply,” when asked to leave the field by MLB security.

Following the MLB’s condemning official statement, the league also announced it would conduct a formal investigation into the matter. A pretty sour note that dampens this World Series-winning moment.

Naturally, Turner has endured a litany of social media backlash from fans and citizens alike. Another interesting aspect of this debacle is MLB’s response.

According to Erik Pedersen of Deadline, regular-season protocols called for a game to be stopped immediately and the rest of the series postponed if a player tested positive for COVID-19. It’s unclear how this fits into the postseason protocols, but raises some questions.

While fans await the results of the league’s investigation, many will form opinions on Turner’s action one way or the other. In the meantime, here’s the full statement from the MLB below.

“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety of protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.

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“The Commissioner’s Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.

“Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ traveling party. Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”