Moments after the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the World Sequence title on Tuesday night time, as their gamers and coaches mingled excitedly on the sector earlier than receiving their trophy, a Fox broadcaster delivered some stunning information: Justin Turner, the Dodgers’ longtime third baseman, had been taken out of the sport as a result of he had obtained a constructive consequence on a coronavirus take a look at.
It will have been a surprising revelation after any sport, however this was the deciding sport of the World Sequence, the climax of baseball’s marquee occasion taking part in out on nationwide tv in entrance of thousands and thousands of viewers. The completion of the season had been seen as a triumph of Main League Baseball’s plan to maintain the virus at bay — a plan that had been tightened in the course of the common season after significant outbreaks within two major league clubs.
However Turner’s constructive take a look at throughout Recreation 6 put a damper on the end-of-season celebrations and raised questions concerning the dealing with of the state of affairs by each M.L.B. and the Dodgers, in addition to about what would occur to members of the Dodgers group within the coming days after being uncovered to an contaminated particular person.
“It’s a bittersweet night time for us,” Main League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned throughout an interview with Fox after presenting Corey Seager with the World Sequence Most Beneficial Participant Award, and earlier than Turner was seen celebrating on the sector.
“We’re glad to be carried out,” Manfred continued. “I do assume it’s an ideal accomplishment for our gamers to get this season accomplished, however clearly we’re involved when any of our gamers take a look at constructive. We realized in the course of the sport that Justin was constructive and instantly remoted him to stop the unfold.”
Turner, 35, who has been with the Dodgers since 2014, was changed earlier than the beginning of the eighth inning of the 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Originally of the Dodgers’ postgame celebration at Globe Life Area in Arlington, Texas, Turner was not seen together with his teammates on the sector. He posted a tweet shortly after the sport saying he had no signs, including: “Can’t consider I couldn’t be on the market to have a good time with my guys!”
However minutes later, Turner was again on the sector: holding the trophy, kissing his spouse and mingling with different gamers, coaches, workforce officers and relations. At occasions, he was sporting a masks. Throughout different moments, together with the workforce’s group photograph with the trophy, he was not.
The Fox broadcast confirmed him eradicating his masks whereas sitting between Supervisor Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman, the workforce’s president of baseball operations, for the group photograph.
On a video name with reporters later, Friedman denied not sporting a face protecting himself — although the printed confirmed him posing with the remainder of the workforce with out a masks. Requested once more later concerning the message the Dodgers despatched by not sporting masks, Friedman mentioned, “If there are folks round him with out masks, that’s not good optics in any respect.”
Friedman mentioned Turner, a workforce chief whose sturdy play helped the Dodgers win their first title since 1988, needed an image with the trophy. “For him, simply being a free agent, not figuring out precisely how the long run goes to play out, I don’t assume there was anybody that was going to cease him,” Friedman mentioned.
Friedman was later requested to make clear if the choice to return to the sector was solely as much as Turner. “It wasn’t as much as Justin,” he mentioned. “I feel Justin needed to return out and take an image of the trophy, and did.”
The Dodgers’ star outfielder Mookie Betts, talking to reporters on a video name, dismissed considerations about Turner being on the sector. “Neglect all that,” Betts mentioned. “He’s a part of the workforce. We’re not excluding him from something.”
Though Friedman admitted he hadn’t watched Turner intently given the commotion of the celebration, he mentioned Turner — who didn’t communicate to reporters after the sport — had been aware of others, particularly these he “hadn’t already been in touch with.”
“From our standpoint,” Friedman added later, “I feel the individuals who had been round him had been folks that will be within the contact tracing net anyway, with simply how intently loads of us have been round one another. So now the next exams we’re going to take are actually essential to determine what we’re doing to be sure that any of us which can be doubtlessly constructive don’t unfold it to different folks.”
Friedman mentioned he was uncertain when the Dodgers would be capable to return residence to Los Angeles, however for now they deliberate to return to their resort to bear testing and speak to tracing.
“Congratulations to the LA Dodgers on successful the World Sequence,” the M.L.B. gamers’ affiliation said in a statement on Twitter. “We’re clearly involved with respect to the report of a constructive take a look at and we’ll work with gamers, their households and the league to see that every one precautionary well being and security protocols are adopted.”
Friedman mentioned that the Dodgers had realized of Turner’s constructive take a look at in the course of the seventh inning, a second he described as “extraordinarily surreal.” Phrase was despatched to a workforce coach, who advised Roberts that Turner wanted to return out of the sport instantly. Turner, who went 0 for 3, was changed by Edwin Rios at third base at the start of the eighth inning, when the Dodgers had been main by 2-1.
Seager, a shortstop who has performed alongside Turner for six years, mentioned it was “gut-wrenching” to not have Turner on the sector for the tip of the sport and instantly afterward. He mentioned he wished he may have switched locations with Turner.
Through the common season, gamers and on-field workers members had been examined for the virus each different day. However in the course of the postseason, the testing was elevated to every single day. As of Friday, M.L.B. reported that there had not been a constructive virus take a look at amongst gamers for 54 consecutive days.
For the ultimate three rounds of the postseason, which had been held at impartial websites to chop down on journey and potential publicity to the virus, the Rays and Dodgers, like different groups within the playoffs, had been in so-called bubbles: They had been restricted to lodges that had been closed to the general public and brought to and from the stadium. Gamers’ wives and kids had been allowed to hitch them so long as they’d quarantined.
After bigger outbreaks quickly halted the seasons of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals early within the truncated 60-game common season, M.L.B. turned extra aggressive about suspending video games when constructive instances arose. The league additionally tightened their coronavirus health and safety protocols, together with including compliance officers to watch clubhouses and workforce lodges.
Gamers and coaches had been required to put on face coverings all over the place on the ballpark, together with within the dugout and within the bullpen. (One exception: gamers on the sector.) Over the course of the 12 months, that rule was generally ignored, together with on Tuesday.