No dog poo, no champagne, and a mask on almost every face – the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their first World Series title since 1988 in a way no one could have imagined before the coronavirus pandemic.
They also started the party without Justin Turner after their red-haired star received a positive COVID-19 test in the middle of their win.
Turner was removed Tuesday night after Los Angeles’ 3-1 win over Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6, after registering Major League Baseball’s first positive test in 59 days, and was initially off the field since the Dodgers enjoyed the booty of a title deservedly during a highly unusual season.
He returned about an hour after the game, hugged longtime teammate Clayton Kershaw, and sat in the front and center for a team photo next to manager Dave Roberts, his mask pulled down from under his bushy beard.
“Thanks to everyone who got in touch!” Turner said on Twitter. “I feel great, no symptoms at all. I’ve just experienced every emotion imaginable. I can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to party with my boys! So proud of this team and incredibly happy for the city of LA . “”
Major League Baseball isolated postseason teams in neutrally located bubbles after traveling the country during a shortened season of 60 games. Turner became the first player since the start of the playoffs for the coronavirus.
MLB received Turner’s Monday sample from the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah at the end of the second inning when Laboratory President Dr. Daniel Eichner called Deputy Inspector Dan Halem, who was in New York. One person familiar with the call said speak to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as details were not released.
Thanks to everyone who got in touch! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can imagine. I can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to party with my boys! So proud of this team and incredibly happy for the city of LA#WorldSeriesChamps
– –@ redturn2
Eichner told Halem the result was inconclusive. MLB is getting a lot of inconclusive results, so Halem urged Eichner to run Turner’s pregame sample on Tuesday. This result was positive in the sixth inning, the person said.
Halem called Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations who was in Manfred’s box at Globe Life Field, and then called Dodger’s president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Friedman notified the dugout or clubhouse and Turner was removed from the game after the seventh inning.
The 35-year-old gymnast has been an integral part of the Dodgers lineup for seven of his eight consecutive NL West titles. Turner is a late blooming racket who redesigned the game through a hit with an upper cut swing. He is LA’s career leader with 12 post-season home runs including a pair in that series in which he hit .364 and also played excellent defense.
“It’s nerve-wracking,” said World Series MVP Corey Seager. “If I could swap places with him now, I would. That’s just not right.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed Turner’s positive testing moments after presenting Los Angeles with the World Series trophy – a harrowing reminder of everything that was different this season when the enduringly favored Dodgers finally broke through.
Joined the Dodgers to make a difference in the World Series, Mookie Betts had an insane shot on home plate in the sixth inning to beat Los Angeles.
The end of a frustrating championship drought for LA – and perhaps just the beginning for Betts and the Dodgers, whose seventh World Series title was the sixth since they left Brooklyn for the West Coast in 1958.
“I had a crazy feeling that came into play,” said Roberts. “It’s just a special group of players, organization, everything that we’ve somehow overcome.”
Betts shot at Seagers Infield Grounder from third place at the start and then led off from eighth place with a punctual homer.
“It was absolutely phenomenal. This team was amazing,” said Seager, also the NLCS MVP, who had franchise records this postseason with eight homers and 20 RBIs. “We never stopped. We were ready to go as soon as the bell was rung. As soon as it happened we rolled on. You can’t say enough about what we’ve done this season.”
Kershaw was warming up in the bullpen as Julio Urias beat Willy Adames to finish him and ran with teammates to party in the infield. They were later joined by a family who had been in the bubble with them in northern Texas.
Players were given face masks when they were collected, although many of their hugs were mask-free even after Turner tested positive.
The Dodgers had played 5,014 regular season games and were in their 114th postseason game since Orel Hershiser in 1988, defeating Kershaw – the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner – Tony Phillips of Oakland for the World Series finals, defeating Games 1 and 5 of this series – was born in nearby Dallas.
Los Angeles had missed out twice in the World Series in the past three years. Betts was on the other side two years ago, scoring 5 in clinch game for the Boston Red Sox, who traded the 2018 AL MVP for the Dodgers before that season. They later gave him a 12-year $ 365 million contract that runs until his 40th birthday in 2032.
Betts’ 3.2-second sprint was just enough to beat first baseman Ji-Man Choi’s throw and put Los Angeles 2-1 ahead after Rays manager Kevin Cash despite a dominant performance over 5 : 3 innings the left-handed Blake Snell had drawn.
“I’m not exactly sure why,” said Betts when asked about the move. “I’m not going to ask any questions. He played a great game.”
Snell struck nine – including the first time in the entire season that Betts, Seager and Turner struck each in their first two bats. But the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner never saw the top three batters on the Dodgers lineup a third time.
“The only motive was to make the Dodgers feature as strong as any team in the league,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “Mookie is coming over for the third time, I appreciate that. I respect and understand the issues involved. They are not easy decisions.”
The Dodgers leadoff hitter had an OPS of 0.531 against left-handers that season, compared to 1.061 against right-handers.
Randy Arozarena, the mighty rookie from Tampa Bay, extended his postseason record with his 10th homer in first off-rookie right-handed Tony Gonsolin, the first of seven Dodgers pitchers. The Rays never got another runner over second base as the LA bullpen gave Reliever dependent Tampa Bay a taste of its own medicine, allowing only two hits and no walks over 7 1/3 innings.
About 2 1/2 weeks after the Lakers won the NBA title when they finished their season in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, the Dodgers gave Los Angeles another championship that year when the novel coronavirus Pandemic delayed, shortened and moved into the sports season.
The MLB season didn’t start until late July and has been shortened to the shortest regular season since 1878. And the extended postseason with 16 instead of 10 teams went over almost the entire distance.
It ended when Urias got the last two Batters out of Tampa Bay on a third hit – the 15th and 16th Ks by the Rays, with catcher Austin Barnes stuffing the last spot in his back pocket. Along with the Dodgers’ eleven strikes, it was the most combined strike in a nine innings World Series game.