For nearly two months, Major League Baseball continued amid a pandemic, including its last month with the players all tucked safely in a bubble.
It almost worked perfectly.
Justin Turner was pulled in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ World Series clinching victory on Tuesday night after MLB officials learned that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
It snapped a 58-day stretch in which no major league player tested positive, according to figures released by the sport.
“It’s a bittersweet night for us,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said on the Fox broadcast after the game. “We’re glad to be done. I do think it’s a great accomplishment for our players to get the season completed, but obviously we’re concerned when any of your players test positive.
“We learned during the game that Justin tested positive. He was immediately isolated to prevent the spread.”
Turner’s test from Monday came back inconclusive earlier in the game on Tuesday, and then later in the game the Dodgers learned that a subsequent test was positive, and Turner was removed.
Although the season is now over, the Dodgers will certainly need to monitor all of their players and staff who had been in contact with Turner.
Turner had come to bat three times and he played seven innings at third base, but he was replaced in the eighth by Kiké Hernandez, with no public explanation, then Edwin Rios played the ninth at third base.
World Series MVP Corey Seager said he learned of Turner’s positive test a few minutes after he left the game. He said it was difficult to know that Turner had to miss the celebration.
“To have that happen to a guy like that, a dude that’s reinvented himself when he came here, what he’s meant to this organization, what he’s meant to this franchise, what he’s meant to this community, to take that away from him, it’s gut-wrenching,” Seager said. “It hurts me. I can’t imagine how he feels. If I could switch places with him right now I would. That man more than anybody deserves to have his picture with that trophy.”
After the final out and the start of the Dodgers celebration, news of Turner’s positive test was released.
The news came just after a season that many didn’t think would be completed in the first place.
Turner tweeted soon after the game:
“Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. 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”
After months of a shutdown and negotiations over how to bring the sport back, games were postponed in the first two weeks after outbreaks with the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
However, players apparently followed the protocols better, and the rest of the season was played with limited interruptions.
Teams in the postseason entered strict bubbles to help them make it through the month without minimal chance of interruption. Teams with a chance to make the postseason were quarantined for the final week of the regular season, and then into the postseason.
Coronavirus tests were administered to the players every day during the postseason, after testing took place every other day during the regular season.
The Dodgers were sequestered in a hotel during their wild-card series against the Milwaukee Brewers, and once they reached the division series in Arlington, Texas, they were limited to their hotel and the ballpark for more than three weeks.
MLB even restricted the food the players could have delivered, and many players were unable to stay with their family members, even though they were also in Arlington.
Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. 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#WorldSeriesChamps
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) October 28, 2020
More to come on this story.