As you might have guessed, upon returning to Los Angeles from Dallas after winning the World Series, the Dodgers organization is borderline-riven with COVID-19. Nine members of the organization have tested positive, along with a family member.
The temptation is to blame Justin Turner, and those who enabled him (namely MLB) to return to the field during the postgame celebrations, even though he’d been pulled from Game 6 for a confirmed positive test. But that’s not clear. Originally, the Dodgers had five people test positive, and none were part of their “bubble” in Texas. However, there’s been no word on whether the additional four were part of the bubble or not, or whether any of them were on the field afterwards. It does seem to be an awfully big coincidence if not.
If you listen to Joe Kelly, who never found a microphone or camera he couldn’t get in front of, the blame should lie with MLB. And he’s not wrong. In an interview with the Bradfo Sho Podcast of WEEI in Boston, Kelly described how the environs weren’t really a “bubble.” The players were bubbled, but were also amongst people who weren’t, and came and went from the hotel as they pleased and were also around the players. Which explains how Turner might have gotten it in the first place when he was supposed to be sealed off from the virus, like what the NHL and NBA managed. Doesn’t seem like MLB is conducting much of an investigation on how a player tested positive in a place where the whole point was that no one would test positive.
As Kelly rightly points out, safety was at best an equal concern to PR, which is what characterized the “protocol theater” that MLB, and now the NFL really, performed. It didn’t make a lot of sense that managers and coaches had to wear masks in the dugout, but all the players didn’t? Same for NFL sidelines. And that’s just one of many “for show” elements of the protocols. MLB presented this “bubble” for its playoffs, but as Kelly shows it wasn’t really, at least nowhere near the one that hockey and basketball had, and we of course there was the little issue of 11,000 fans in the stands of a “bubble.”
The Dodgers haven’t named any of the positive tests, and they don’t have to, so we’ll probably never know if any of them were a result of being on the field with Turner and his wife unless those who tested positive say so on their own. As of now, all members of the Dodgers and Rays organization are quarantining back in their homes, though that 14 days will come to an end this week. Because of the services available to them, it’s likely the Dodgers and MLB will avoid anyone getting truly sick and suffering long-term damage because of their screw-ups. Then it can all fade into the background, which is what they were after in the first place. That’s why Turner wasn’t disciplined in any way after his apology.