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The Dodgers' Justin Turner Celebrates With Teammates After Testing Positive For Virus


The city of Los Angeles is celebrating another major pro sports championship. Earlier this month, the Lakers won the NBA title. The Dodgers' World Series win over Tampa Bay last night marked the successful end of a roller coaster baseball season through the coronavirus pandemic. But NPR's Tom Goldman reports the virus still may have the last word.


TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Last night's jumping and hugging moment after the final out was maybe jumpier and huggier than usual. LA was celebrating its first title since 1988. But where was Animal? Justin Turner, the popular star third baseman nicknamed after a Muppet for his shaggy red hair and beard, was notably absent from the initial mob. Turner was replaced late in the game. Fans wondered if he was hurt. Turns out, he had a positive test for the coronavirus. It was ironic. The startling news came at the very end of a season in which MLB had done so well containing the virus after early outbreaks.

But then irony turned problematic. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told a national TV audience Turner was in isolation. But there he was on the field, holding the trophy, wearing a mask and then not wearing a mask. Baseball security personnel tried to get Turner to leave the field. He emphatically said no.

Late today, Major League Baseball released a statement saying, 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 commissioner's office will investigate. Both the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays have been tested. They played the World Series at a neutral site in Texas. They can return to their home cities after they're given the OK to travel.

Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.