On Justin Turner’s COVID-19 positive test and the postgame

Justin Turner. Photo by: Cody Bashore

When Edwin Rios replaced Justin Turner at third base in the top of the eighth inning, it raised a few eyebrows. We didn’t hear until after that game what happened.

He had tested positive for COVID-19. The result came back during the game, a second test — from Tuesday morning — was expedited and it also came back positive. This wasn’t a false positive scenario.

After initially not being seen in the dugout or on the field postgame, he came back out. He had a mask on at first, but removed it while holding the trophy and kissing his wife and during the team photo.

Man, this is a bad look for him, the Dodgers and Major League Baseball. Yes, he was in contact with all the guys during the game and days prior, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that he tested positive for a highly contagious and deadly virus, did not adhere to protocols, did not remain isolated and, in turn, put a lot more people at risk.

This sucks because it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Turner has been the heart and soul of this team for a few years now, and we all felt bad that he wasn’t able to be out there celebrating with the team. Until he was.

But you know what? The virus doesn’t give a shit about any of this. It doesn’t care that the Dodgers won the World Series. It doesn’t care that he and every other member of the organization finally reached the summit. It just doesn’t care.

The Dodgers didn’t try to stop him from coming back on the field. Some of his teammates made some dumb comments postgame. It doesn’t change the fact that Turner shouldn’t have been out there, and for him to be out there is the same kind of attitude that has this country in the situation it is in today, nearly nine months after this pandemic really hit the United States.

I get that this might be a once-in-a-career moment for him and the rest of the organization, but again, the virus simply does not care and this does not take precedence over wanting to celebrate the title.

If only this had been the end of it. MLB would have had another issue on its hands about the timeline of the test and the overall protocols, but Joe Sheehan put it best.

Definitely not a fan of him, but he’s 100% right here.

So, let’s hope no other people in the Dodgers’ organization test positive. It seems highly unlikely this will be the case. Let’s hope none of the family members test positive. That also seems highly unlikely. The best-case scenario here is that no one is adversely effected in the short- and long-term.

You can still be happy that the Dodgers won. I am! But also be mindful of the real-life implications and know that this virus is thriving and is still a thing. And what Justin Turner did was wrong. What the Dodgers did in allowing him to come back out was wrong. What MLB did by not enforcing its protocols was wrong.

Nothing is simple in 2020. Not even a World Series title celebration.

About Dustin Nosler

Avatar photo
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.