© 2021 WRVO Public Media
Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Dodgers 3rd Baseman Tests Positive For COVID-19 — Then Celebrates With Teammates

After your team wins the World Series, it's only natural to run onto the field to celebrate with your teammates.

But when you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 — and gotten a warning from security to leave the field — that natural instinct can lead to a "full investigation" by Major League Baseball.

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner finds himself in just such a situation, having taken the field Tuesday night after the Dodgers won their first World Series championship since 1988, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6.

Turner took a COVID-19 test on Monday, but on it came back inconclusive during the second inning of Tuesday's game, CBS Sports explains. So the lab expedited a retest, which came back positive. Turner was removed from the game after the seventh inning. He was quarantined in a doctor's office near the field.

"I feel great, no symptoms at all," Turner wrote on Twitter shortly after the game. "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."

But after Turner's tweet, he came back onto the field where he not only carried the trophy, but also participated in the team photo — taking off his mask and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow players.

MLB higher-ups are not happy. "Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him," the MLB said in a statement. "However, following the Dodgers' victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.

"While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner's decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk," the statement continued. "When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply."

The league commissioner's office will conduct a "full investigation" into the matter, the MLB said.

But Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman defended Turner's actions. "I think the people who were around him would be in the contact tracing web anyway — which is how close a lot of us have been around each other," Friedman said, according to The Orange County Register.

And Turner's teammates seemed not to mind his return to the field.

"He's part of our team," Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts told reporters. "Forget all that. He's part of the team. We're not excluding him from anything."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.