For the first time in MLB history, the postseason was held inside multiple bubbles. Four ballparks were utilized to host games, covering the American League and National League Division Series, AL and NL Championship Series, and World Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had a lengthy stay at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, where they defeated the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays en route to capturing their first title since 1988.
The club’s World Series-clinching victory in Game 6 was muddied by the news of Justin Turner testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). He was removed from the game in the eighth inning, but later rejoined his teammates for the postgame celebration.
During an appearance on the “Bradfo Sho” podcast, Joe Kelly speculated that Turner contracted the virus from an outsider at the team’s hotel, and went on to criticize the loose structure of MLB’s postseason bubble:
“I want to know who gave him the corona. If it’s a bubble, how do you get corona in the bubble? It wasn’t called a ‘bubble.’ It was called a ’secure zone,’ for people who don’t know. We were at a nice hotel, a beautiful hotel. There was a golf course there and I happened to have a room — a villa — on the 18th green, which is pretty crazy because it’s a secure zone, but my room was no more than 20 yards from the green, and it’s still open to the public.
“So it’s a bubble, except golfers are hitting golf balls next to my window and crossing the secure zone tape line. People are yelling at him and golfers are yelling back, ‘No, I’m going to get my ball.’ So it wasn’t really as secure as one might think, because there was still a golf course open to the public 20 yards away from us every single day. We weren’t allowed to play golf, according to the rules and tiers, but I saw a lot of golf clubs in the hotel. I know for a fact that people staying at the hotel were playing golf that weren’t baseball players. It was media, the on-field talents, umpires, they still were allowed to play golf but we weren’t, because apparently the coronavirus knows baseball players should get it more than PR, hotel staff and umpires. It’s a smart virus. …
“It was a secure zone, but it was the first time in my life I felt insecure. I was insecure in the secure zone. … It doesn’t make sense. Hotel staff, say they come deliver you room service, they’re supposed to leave it at the door; numerous times they’d come into the room and deliver your food. These hotel staff members get to go home every single day to their families and not stay at the hotel, so how is it a bubble?”
As Kelly noted, there were many flaws with MLB’s postseason bubble plan. The most jarring being that umpires and others were allowed to play golf with the public.
While players were restricted to their hotel rooms and other safe areas, it also didn’t help that staff occasionally entered at times, which obviously went against protocols.
MLB concludes investigation into Turner
When Turner was spotted on the field after the Dodgers’ Game 6 win, he became the subject of heavy criticism by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. It prompted an investigation, which recently concluded without any disciplinary action being taken.
“As is often the case, our investigation revealed additional relevant information that, while not exonerating Mr. Turner from responsibility for his conduct, helps put into context why he chose to leave the isolation room and return to the field,” Manfred said in a statement.
“First, Mr. Turner’s teammates actively encouraged him to leave the isolation room and return to the field for a photograph. Many teammates felt they had already been exposed to Mr. Turner and were prepared to tolerate the additional risk. Second, Mr. Turner believes that he received permission from at least one Dodgers employee to return to the field to participate in a photograph.
“Although Mr. Turner’s belief may have been the product of a miscommunication, at least two Dodgers employees said nothing to Mr. Turner as he made his way to the field, which they admitted may have created the impression that his conduct was acceptable.
“Third, during the somewhat chaotic situation on the field, Mr. Turner was incorrectly told by an unidentified person that other players had tested positive creating the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that he was being singled out for isolation.
“Finally, Major League Baseball could have handled the situation more effectively. For example, in retrospect, a security person should have been assigned to monitor Mr. Turner when he was asked to isolate, and Mr. Turner should have been transported from the stadium to the hotel more promptly.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!