The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series Tuesday night after beating the Tampa Bay Rays in a rousing game six that ended with a celebration that may very well have been a COVID-19 “super spreader event.”
MLB learned in the second inning of Tuesday's game that Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner’s COVID-19 test from Monday had come back positive. The league then immediately expedited his Tuesday sample, which also came back positive.
According to SI.com, the commissioner’s office called Dodgers owner Mark Walter with the news. Walter called Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Friedman called manager Dave Roberts. After the bottom of the seventh, Roberts pulled Turner.
Turner was then placed in isolation with his wife. However, when the Dodgers finally won the game, clinching their first title in 32 years, Turner emerged from isolation to celebrate on the field with his teammates, potentially exposing dozens of people to the virus as he posed for pictures without a mask.
Over the course of this year’s abbreviated season, MLB canceled 43 games over positive COVID-19 tests across a number of teams.
Friedman defended his team, as well as Turner’s actions, in a postgame interview.
“Having a mask on and staying socially distanced, he wanted to come out and take a picture with the trophy,” Friedman said. “We can’t state strongly enough how big a role he played for this organization.”
That was clearly not the case, as Turner took pictures with the team while not wearing a mask and spoke with several people, including Friedman, from inches away.
MLB has virus protocols in place that state “Any Covered Individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must immediately wear a face covering [and] isolate from all people.” Friedman apparently didn’t agree with that rule following his team’s win.
“I don’t think there was anyone that was going to stop [Turner] from going out,” said Friedman.