Moments after the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series title on Tuesday evening, as their players and coaches mingled excitedly on the field before receiving the trophy, Fox had some shocking news: Justin Turner, the long-time rule-of-thumb of the Dodgers, was knocked out because he got A positive result in a corona virus test.
It would have been an amazing revelation after any match, but this was the defining game of the World Series, the climax of the baseball marquee event being shown on national television in front of millions of viewers. The completion of the season was seen as a victory for Major League Baseball’s plan to keep the virus at bay – a plan that has been toughened during the regular season after a major outbreak within the two major league clubs.
But Turner’s positive test during Game 6 disrupted season-ending celebrations and raised questions about the handling of the situation by both MLB and Dodgers, as well as about what would happen to members of the Dodgers organization in the future. Days after exposure to an infected individual.
“It’s a bittersweet night for us,” said Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred during an interview with Fox after Corey Seger was presented with the award for best player in the world, and before Turner was seen celebrating on the field.
Manfred continued: “We are happy with this.” “I think it is a great achievement for our players to complete this season, but it is clear that we are concerned when any of our players test positive. We learned during the match that Justin was positive and we immediately isolated him to prevent spread.”
Turner, 35, who had been with the Dodgers since 2014, was substituted ahead of the start of the eighth game for a 3–1 win over Tampa Bay Rise. At the start of the Dodgers’ celebration after the post-match match at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, Turner was not seen with his teammates on the field. Spread Tweet Shortly after the match he said he was not experiencing any symptoms, adding, “I can’t believe I can’t be there to celebrate with my buddies!”
Minutes later, however, Turner is back on the field: holding the trophy, kissing his wife and mingling with players, coaches, team officials and family members. Sometimes he wore a mask. During other moments, including the team’s group photo with the trophy, he was not.
Fox’s broadcast showed he removed his mask while sitting between manager Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman, the team’s head of baseball operations, for the group photo.
In a video call with reporters later, Friedman denied not wearing a face covering himself – although the broadcast showed him standing with the rest of the team without a mask. Asked again later about the message the Dodgers had sent him not to wear masks, Friedman said, “If there are people around him without masks, these aren’t good optics at all.”
Friedman said Turner, the captain of the team whose strong performances helped the Dodgers win their first title since 1988, wanted a picture with the trophy. Friedman said: “To him, being just a free agent, he doesn’t know exactly what the future will be like, I don’t think there was anyone who would stop him.”
Friedman was later asked to clarify if the decision to return to the field was only for Turner. “It wasn’t up to Justin,” he said. “I think Justin wanted to go out and take a photo of the cup, and he did.”
Speaking to reporters over a video call, Muki Bates, the Dodgers star, denied concerns about Turner on the field. “Forget all of that,” Bates said. “He is part of the team. We do not exclude him from anything.”
Although Friedman admitted that he did not watch Turner closely due to the celebration fanfare, he said that Turner – who did not speak to reporters after the match – was keen on others, especially those with whom he “had not actually been in contact.”
Friedman later added: “From our perspective, I think the people around him were people who would be in a contact tracing network anyway, with how close a lot of us are to each other. So the post tests we’re going to run are really important to see what we do to make sure that … None of us is potentially positive does not spread it to other people. “
Friedman said he is not sure when the Dodgers will return home to Los Angeles, but that they are currently planning to return to their hotel for testing and contact tracing.
“Congratulations to the LA Dodgers on winning the World Series,” MLB Players’ Association He said in a statement on Twitter. “Obviously, we are concerned with the positive test report and will work with the players, their families and the league to make sure all preventive health and safety protocols are followed.”
Friedman said the Dodgers learned of Turner’s positive test during the seventh inning, a moment he described as “very surreal”. A word was sent to the team’s coach, who told Roberts that Turner should exit the game immediately. Turner, who scored 0-3, was replaced by Edwin Rios at the third base early in the eighth game, when the Dodgers were leading 2-1.
Seager, a short-lived player who played alongside Turner for six years, said it was “painful” not to have Turner on the field until the end of the match and immediately after. He said he wishes he could switch places with Turner.
During the regular season, players and staff on the field were tested for the virus every day. But during the post-season period, testing was increased to every day. As of Friday, MLB reported that there had been no positive virus testing among players for 54 consecutive days.
For the last three post-season rounds, which were held in neutral locations to minimize travel and potential exposure to the virus, the Rays and Dodgers, like other teams in the qualifiers, have been in so-called bubbles: hotels that have been closed to the public and have been moved to and from the stadium. Players’ wives and children were allowed to join them as long as they were in quarantine.
After a larger outbreak paused the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals seasons early in the regular 60-game season, the MLB became more aggressive about postponing matches when positive cases emerged. The association has also tightened coronavirus health and safety protocols, including adding compliance officers to monitor clubs and hotels.
Players and coaches are required to wear face coverings everywhere on the field, including in the bunker and in the playground. (One exception: players on the court). Throughout the year, this rule was sometimes ignored, including on Tuesdays.