The Los Angeles Dodgers had the opportunity to clinch their first title since 1988 with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the 2020 Covidball Classic World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday night.
The roof was closed at the stadium due to cool, rainy weather, creating an environment conducive to infecting visiting Dodgers fans with COVID-19, who will bring it home to their local communities as a deadly World Series souvenir.
Justin Turner also was pulled from the game and was therefore unable to celebrate the eventual championship victory with his teammates after testing positive for the virus. More positive tests are quite likely over the coming days. While it may be fortunate a seventh game will not be played, the post-game celebration has serious potential to spread the virus throughout the Dodgers organization, and eventually to the players’ and staff members’ families and communities.
Sources confirm to ESPN that Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from Game 6 of the World Series.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 28, 2020
The Tampa starter, 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, was dealing over 5.1 IP. He struck out nine Dodger batters and allowed one run on just two hits with no walks. Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled Snell in a controversial decision after Austin Barnes‘ one-out single in the 6th inning.
Anderson, who had struggled in the postseason (6.75 ERA in World Series entering Game 6), replaced Snell and immediately allowed a double by Mookie Betts which advanced the tying and go-ahead runs into scoring position. Barnes tied the game on a wild pitch, and Corey Seager drove in the eventual winning run on a fielder’s choice play.
Betts added an insurance run with his 8th inning home run to center field.
Seager was named the World Series MVP, winning the National League Championship Series and World Series MVP trophies in the same season. He certainly had a very good case to win the award but really only beat out Randy Arozarena because Arozarena had the misfortune of being on the losing side after a historic postseason performance.
While fans and MLB players alike criticized Cash’s decision to pull Snell from the game, the game was already lost when Tampa failed to cash in on early scoring opportunities. Arozarena’s solo shot in the 1st inning gave the Rays a 1-0 lead, but they had the chance for more in that inning. After the home run, Austin Meadows singled and advanced to second base on Brandon Lowe‘s one-out walk. Manuel Margot and Joey Wendle were unable to add to the Rays’ lead, making the second and third outs of the inning, respectively.
Turner’s positive test and the debate over the decision to pull Snell cast a pall over a series that otherwise had some very entertaining and dramatic moments, especially the Rays’ Game 4 walkoff. I’m sad it did not last a full seven games and that the players will now face the stress of a potential COVID-19 exposure. I hope MLB provides answers about how an infection occurred in their postseason “bubble” environment, but I expect little to no transparency from the league.
Featured Image: Fireworks over Dodger Stadium with downtown view on July 29, 2016 by Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com.
UPDATE: After writing and posting my original blog, I saw photos of Turner holding the Commissioner’s Trophy in close proximity to his teammates circulating on social media.
My heart breaks for Turner. Just brutal. pic.twitter.com/CVT9t0U1Rz
— AlaNNa Rizzo (@alannarizzo) October 28, 2020
This is a seriously irresponsible decision by the Dodgers organization and MLB that will endanger the players and community at large. The Dodgers rightly deserve to never win another World Series.