MLB’s 2020 World Series Reinforces why Pandemic Guidelines Should Be Followed


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Image of Justin Turner, Dodgers third-baseman

It was supposed to be a storybook moment for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As the dust settled on the 2020 World Series, they hoisted up the Commissioner’s Trophy for the first time in 32 years. It should have been a time of great joy, a celebration of the resilience it took this team to reach the top of the baseball world during a season in which so much adversity was thrown their way. They had finally found the light at the end of the tunnel, after so many years of heartbreak and pain. All that, only for that light to be clouded by a storm of controversy.

During the 8th inning of the Dodger’s decisive game six win, star third baseman Justin Turner was pulled from the game, to the surprise of fans. Speculation ran rampant on what could have been the reasoning, and many’s worst fears came true: Turner had tested positive for COVID-19.

He was taken out to protect all those at risk around him from the virus, only to be seen later on in the night, celebrating the title with his team and wife, even stopping to take his mask off for pictures. Turner’s actions that night are not an anomaly, but rather just following the unfortunate trend of this global pandemic being tossed aside within our society for other, “more important” matters. More important than the health of one’s closest friends and loved ones.

Major League Baseball had managed to pull off a season this year despite the virus pushing sports to a complete halt back in March, albeit shortened to 60 games. It was marred by countless positive tests, leading to 43 game postponements. Still, the MLB played on, ignorant of the implications of doing so. The only number they cared about was the revenue they generated at the expense of others.

That entails that it would be irresponsible to place the blame solely on Turner’s shoulders without recognizing the larger forces in play here. Simply put, should Turner have returned to the field knowing he could potentially spread the virus to others in close contact with him? No. But he shouldn’t have been given that opportunity in the first place.

It is understandable why Turner wanted to be out there to celebrate. He had been a key cog in this team for years, and winning a World Series is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. However, as one of the leaders of that team, he needed to set a good example to his younger teammates, and the millions of kids who look up to him. 

It was inconsiderate for him to put others at risk so he could have his fun. His manager, Dave Roberts, is a cancer survivor himself, making him more susceptible to the disease. Turner may not have had malicious intent behind his actions, but the lack of regard for those around him is glaring. 

While a harsh punishment may not be warranted for his actions, as the MLB was equally responsible for being complicit, a line needs to be drawn here. Coronavirus cases continue to reach record highs, with no end in sight. 

As long as we insist on downplaying the virus and refusing to take it seriously, we cannot return to a relative state of normalcy. While many will brush off and try to justify Turner’s actions that night, they remain a part of the broader issue at hand. Coronavirus will not just “go away.” Our society as a whole needs to step up and do their part in slowing the spread, not just make excuses for why we’re not. It’s not just Justin Turner. We all need to be better.