Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was informed he tested positive for COVID-19 but celebrated his team’s World Series victory with his teammates the same night.
The team was informed in the middle of Game 6 of the World Series between the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. With the team winning and a mere six outs away from clinching their first championship since 1988, the team was told to pull Turner from the game after the lab informed the league of the positive test, according to ESPN.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said that once the news of the positive test was relayed to the team, “He was immediately isolated to prevent spread.” However, Turner was back on the field, celebrating the victory shortly after the game ended because no one stopped him.
Turner took photos with the World Series trophy, hugged a teammate, and sat next to others for photos. While he was seen in a mask for much of the celebration, a photo of him next to manager Dave Roberts surrounded by teammates spread on social media.
“Thanks to everyone reaching out!” Turner tweeted after the game. “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.”
Amid questions surrounding Turner’s decision to rejoin the celebration, some of his teammates came to his defense.
“He’s part of the team,” Mookie Betts, the team’s right fielder, said. “Forget all that. He’s part of the team. We’re not excluding him from anything.”
“It’s gut-wrenching,” World Series MVP Corey Seager said. “It hurts me. I can’t imagine how he feels. If I could switch places with him right now, I would, because that man, more than anybody, deserves to take a picture with that trophy, celebrate with us, have his family around, and enjoy this moment, and that got taken away from him, and that’s not right. That doesn’t sit well with me.”
Every member of the team was tested upon their return to the hotel.
Major League Baseball opted for a very different season in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of a regular 162-game season spanning from April through September, the league went with a condensed 60-game season played without fans in the stands. For the playoffs, which was expanded to include more teams, each conference played in a bubble, with teams not being allowed to leave until they were eliminated.