LOS ANGELES — In the interest of public safety, millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have voluntarily isolated themselves from friends and family for two long and lonely weeks.
Justin Turner wouldn't quarantine for two hours.
In the interest of common sense, millions of other Americans have been purposely absent for many deeply personal events, canceling weddings, postponing funerals, missing births.
Justin Turner wouldn't skip a trophy celebration.
And so one of the greatest team accomplishments in the history of Los Angeles sports has been marred by a singular act of selfishness, the divine tinged with disappointment, a lovable leader now bathed in disillusionment.
In his seven years as a Los Angeles Dodger, the red-bearded Turner has become everybody's favorite hometown kid. He's like an embraceable stuffed animal with real teeth. He's shaggy, tough, resilient, kind, charitable, the player who gives an autographed ball to the nightly honored veteran, the player who began this abbreviated season warning teammates about their pandemic responsibility.
Who would have thought he could be so irresponsible?
The facts: Turner was removed from the Dodgers' 3-1 World Series clinching victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the eighth inning Tuesday night upon being notified of a positive test for COVID-19.
The friction: About an hour after the final pitch, Turner ended his brief isolation in a stadium doctor's office to return to the field to hug his teammates and their families while wearing a mask. Then he plopped down on the grass and removed his mask for a team photo. He was soon joined on the ground by manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor who was also not wearing a mask. Turner then strolled around the infield without a mask before posing for a photo with the Commissioner's Trophy.
Turner was approached by a member of Major League Baseball's security detail, but he refused to leave. He knew he was exposing the virus to dozens of others including wives and children and at least one pregnant woman, yet he still insisted on staying.