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The Turf Weighs In: Justin Turner, and the Most 2020 Way to End the World Series

The Turf Staff is not going to let this one slide…

Dodgers NLCS Game 5 by waltarrrrr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Turf Weighs In: Justin Turner, and the Most 2020 Way to End the World Series


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The Los Angeles Dodgers have won their first World Series in decades. Clayton Kershaw finally has the proverbial monkey off his back. Mookie Betts seems to be worth every penny he got from LA this offseason. And yet, the most notable storyline following the Game 6 victory for the Dodgers has nothing to do with baseball.

After being mysteriously pulled halfway through the game with no explanation, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was reported positive for COVID-19. And while Turner was not on the field for post-game celebration initially, he did ultimately join his teammates for the festivities, photo ops, and hugs… often without a mask.

Was this a momentary lapse of judgement by an excited athlete? Or did Turner’s actions undermine the seriousness of the pandemic? We asked our team here at the Turf, and it’s clear to see which way they lean.

Should Justin Turner be slammed for celebrating on the field after testing positive for COVID-19?

Ned Donovan

LITERALLY YES. I FELT LIKE I WAS TAKING CRAZY PILLS.

Christian Heilman

Yes! It sends the wrong message. Oh, COVID isn’t that big a deal if you have something important going on. It sucks but he should have skipped the celebration. Also why is he getting his diagnosis mid game? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of testing prior to the game? Once again it shows that the MLB doesn’t care or is just too dumb to realize it’s an issue.

Katie Pierce

They should all be slammed for even letting him get on the field while waiting for a potentially second positive test. It’s a selfish move overall. Think about the further reaching effects of him exposing himself to his teammates, their immediate families, and the communities that they will all soon travel back to.

Matt Branigan

Yes. He should be slammed.

Jim Brosnan

No doubt about it. Up to a potential suspension by the team, and maybe the league. How many of his teammates did he put at risk? How many of their families? I have a 2-year-old and a wife at home, and let me tell you, if I’m his teammate, I’m super pissed at him right now. Selfish move by him.

Joe Danbusky

Short answer – YES. I’m too angry/disappointed/confused to adequately articulate the longer answer.

Justin Colombo

Why did no one stop him? Why did literally no one stop him? We had teams stop playing for weeks at a time this season because of COVID. But Justin Turner can’t play Game 6 or Game 7? Maybe you shouldn’t have been so careless JT. In these Times of COVID, there’s a social contract we all live by. “I’m good so you’re good, and if I’m not safe, I own that responsibility.” JT, Manfred and the Dodgers, all broke that contract. On the game’s biggest stage, the MLB proved how absolutely terribly they have handled this whole situation.

Ryan Kelly

This was such a great opportunity to remind the country that COVID safety is more important than most things, and instead they gave in to the “it’s no biggie” mindset. So weak. 

Andrew Mark Wilhelm

This is not a good look and he’s totally at fault. BUT. Of course he wants to play. Of course he wants to celebrate. And he’s going to do everything he can to do so. I think, for as much as he is at fault, everyone at MLB is at fault more. How did he get it if they had truly set up a bubble? How was he allowed to be inserted into a lineup? How did he get past security to get on the field after the game?

Kevin Morin

It is the epitome of the delusion of baseball, insisting that he be on the field. It’s irresponsible, and blind to the issue at hand. Thanks for showing yourself as the old white man yet again, baseball.

Ellen Adair

I think a lot of people have already made the most salient points. But I think, essentially, everyone should be slammed for it. Their response was essentially “who’s going to stop Justin Turner if he decides he wants to celebrate?” But isn’t that the whole point of a protocol, that it is not an individual decision? MLB had problems with individuals making decisions around COVID from the point that the Marlins voted to play the Phillies despite knowing they had a team outbreak (no, I will never forget that). MLB is at fault for not having someone, anyone, say to Turner, you can’t celebrate with everyone else, you’ve had a positive COVID test. And the Dodgers are all to be slammed for being nonchalant about their celebrations, despite the fact that someone with a positive COVID test had been breathing on them all day. ANYONE could have contracted it, and given it to their spouse in their celebrations.

It’s a “fuck it, I am not going to miss this” mentality, when the story I would rather tell my grandchildren is, “I couldn’t celebrate on the field with my team, because I loved them so much I didn’t want to expose them to risk.” Baseball history has almost a century and a half of players who celebrated with their team after winning the biggest game. If you’re the one guy who couldn’t do that because there was a freaking global pandemic and you were thoughtful about your coach who is a cancer survivor, that makes you a weird and special and wonderful historical footnote. And you still won the World Series. It’s not like you didn’t get to play.

Ryan Kelly lives in Cambridge, MA, a stone's throw away from his beloved Boston teams. When he is not working as an editorial assistant, he is providing commentary on the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins for The Turf.

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