Justin Turner was determined to celebrate his first World Series championship with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates, and they apparently supported his decision to join them.
The red-bearded former Mets infielder was removed from the Dodgers’ 3-1 win in the eighth inning after learning he’d tested positive for COVID-19.
Turner’s mandated self-isolation was broken when he emerged in the dugout and then on the field nearly an hour into the field celebration wearing a mask, which he removed while taking part in a team photo, seated next to manager Dave Roberts. He also was shown holding the hardware, hugging teammates and kissing his wife during the celebration.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Turner was asked to stay off the field but he and the Dodgers “insisted” that he be a part of the celebration.
“He wanted to come out and take a picture with the trophy,” Dodgers president Andrew Friedman said, according to USA Today Sports. “Him being a free agent, I don’t think anyone was going to stop him from going out. I think he was mindful of other people, especially other people he hasn’t seen around.
“For him, having a chance to take a picture with the trophy was incredibly meaningful.”
World Series MVP Corey Seager told reporters after the game he had no issue with Turner being on the field.
“To have that happen to a guy like that … what he meant to this franchise, this community, it’s gut-wrenching for me,” Seager said. “I can’t imagine how he feels. If I could switch with him, I would. It hurts. It hurts a lot. He should be out there taking pictures with the trophy.”
Before joining his teammates, Turner had tweeted that he was asymptomatic and feeling “great.”
“Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all,” he wrote. “Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA.”
MLB was informed by the Utah lab conducting coronavirus testing in the second inning of Tuesday’s game that Turner’s test had come back inconclusive. The sample was run again and came back positive later in the game and the league informed the Dodgers to remove him from the game. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said on Fox during the postgame ceremony that Turner was “immediately isolated to prevent the spread” of COVID-19, but the LA third baseman eventually found his way to the field. No one stopped him.
“Forget that,” Dodgers star Mookie Betts told reporters. “He’s part of the team and we’re not excluding him.”
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