Outside Dodger Stadium where COVID-19 testing has taken place throughout 2020. Photo by Tony Pierce.

The Night Justin Turner Ruined Everything

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When selfishness and carelessness trample over common sense and leadership, everyone loses.

What you are reading was not supposed to be about the Dodgers winning the World Series.

What’s to say?

Fans were replaced with cardboard cut-outs, the playoffs were expanded to include more than half of the league and Joe Buck remained to bum everyone’s day.

But in 2020 you take what you can get, right?

The game climaxed last night with the Dodgers becoming champs after a 32-year drought thanks to a hard-fought World Series that included several unforgettable moments.

Am I happy for the city, the fans, manager Dave Roberts and future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw? Of course. Am I also happy for Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda and Randy Newman — whose iconic song about L.A. is sung at the end of every Dodger victory at home? Sure, why not.

But this column was supposed to be about why Prop 22 is a stinker, not about why the usually lovable Justin Turner was a selfish prick last night and how MLB did everything wrong. But here we are. 2020’s October Stup-rise.

As you know, Major League Baseball is worth billions and billions of dollars. The Dodgers alone are valued at over $3 billion. And yet we are to believe that MLB tested the World Series teams every day for the coronavirus. We are also told that it is not unusual for some of the results to be inconclusive, and thus the player in question needs to be retested post-haste occasionally.

Apparently, that is what happened Tuesday night to the scruffy third baseman with the cartoonish red beard. In the second inning of the game, it was determined that Turner’s Monday test was deemed inconclusive, so they needed to test him again.

Fortunately, he had already given a sample before the game with the others, so they put a rush on his results. This step alone raises questions. Doesn’t it?

The “expedited” result was returned at the end of the sixth or seventh inning (depending on who you ask).

So the Dodgers trainers told Turner not to take the field, and instead, immediately go to the locker room and isolate himself.

Which he did for two innings until the game was over and the celebrations began on the field.

And then he did the unthinkable.

The only thing he shouldn’t have done.

For some reason, the soon-to-be 36-year-old Long Beach native thought it would be a good idea to emerge from the clubhouse and hug whoever came in his path: teammates, a photographer, several players’ wives. His team had won the World Series after all. The party’s what it was all about!

Hi Julie. Hi Ashley. Hi Kersh. Hugs to you and you and you!

The guy who had recently been told he had the Rona even handled the Commissioner’s Trophy — the very same one that every Dodger probably planned to hold.

Unlike the Stanley Cup, this championship award does not come with a well-dressed butler who constantly wipes it off and keeps it sparkling.

But why?

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Turner was told not to return to the field, but he disobeyed.

And, alas, there he was, one of the most conspicuous characters in the stadium, and MLB did nothing about it.

Was the Commissioner unable to summon security or compel the Dodgers to come get their mans?

Had everyone lost their damn minds?

Did everyone forget the reason they were playing this bizarre postseason series in Texas and not Tampa and L.A.?

Did everyone space out as to why there were just 10,000 fans in the stands and weird cutouts and giant advertising banners covering up the empty seats?

Over 200,000 Americans who were alive at the beginning of this year were not able to see this World Series and never will.

Had it been lost on everyone that in the middle of the summer, Dodger Stadium had become the largest COVID-19 testing facility in the Golden State?

So why was big, bushy Justin Turner brushing shoulders with his 48-year-old manager as they waited to say cheese for the championship photo?

Had no one seen the White House Rose Garden event held earlier in the month where lack of masks and social distancing mixed with hugging led to President Trump and the First Lady; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee; Sen. Thom Tillis; Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins; pastor Greg Laurie; and photographer Al Drago all coming down with COVID-19?

How was that hugfest any different than what Justin Turner had done?

Well, there is a difference. As far as we know, none of the cavalier attendees at the White House had just been told that they had tested positive for the coronavirus, but Turner had.

We know that he knew because, not only was he removed from the close game, but he tweeted that because he had a dirty test result, he wouldn’t be able to join his teammates.

But he did it anyway. And MLB did nothing about it. Which is why they both should pay a price.

Why? Because of the kids.

Baseball is one of the most influential activities that American children engage in. It’s still our National Pastime. What are they to think when they see one of their favorite players getting yanked from a historic World Series game only to return to the field, hugging everyone just to pose for a dumbass photo that could have easily been Photoshopped to include him?

Turner, who as of today becomes a free agent, should be suspended for at least a year, and the commissioner of baseball should be relieved of his duties for allowing a health hazard to frolic around that Texan infield.

Otherwise, WTF was this all about? Why was there a bubble? Why was there a shortened season? Why were so many team employees and staff without work this year?

And why did stars like the Dodgers’ newly-acquired David Price sacrifice this season by opting out of playing in order to avoid contracting COVID and spreading it to their family?

Baseball players have been banned for lesser crimes than putting others at risk of spreading a deadly disease — one that recently struck down an 18-year-old college student. The fallacy that only the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions are at risk has been roundly debunked.

What Turner did, as likable as he is, was foolish and reckless and selfish. And what Commissioner Rob Manfred failed to do was tantamount to aiding and abetting. It was a dereliction of his duty.

The commish who had no problem installing the DH in the NL was suddenly too gunshy to tell the one guy who tested positive to GTFO the field.

What sort of Mickey Mouse operation was Manfred running where results were coming back in the middle of the World Series? What if Turner had infected others last night and what if the Dodgers had lost that game and were forced to play a final game? Would Game 7 have been postponed for two weeks?

Why hadn’t the testing been done earlier in the day? Was Dr. Nick Riviera overseeing this nonsense? Dr. Bombay? Dr. Evil?

All of it put an unnecessary black eye on MLB and the final game of the season. There must be consequences.

Will there be?

Of course not.

And worse, we probably won’t ever learn how a player who had been in a bubble for three weeks caught the damn thing. And on top of it, no matter what the official statement is, odds are we won’t trust it.

In conclusion: No on 22. It’s as ridiculous as hugging people when you have been told you have coronavirus.

Los Angeleno