Mendoza: From champions to chariots on fire

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

WHY, oh, why did he do it?

It really baffles the mind, defies logic and dulls the senses.

Justin Turner joined the victory celebration of the Los Angeles Dodgers when he should not.

He was COVID-19 positive.

He knowingly knew it.

He was pulled out of the eighth inning after officials learned he was coronavirus positive.

Players in the baseball bubble in Arlington, Texas, were tested every single day (did the PBA bubble also do that before the league got ditched on Friday due to two “false positives”?) during the World Series.

Turner, he with the thick red beard, was in firm control of his usual third base when the bad news came after the seventh, Dodgers leading 3-1.

Then the banished Turner received the good news: the Dodgers parlayed that two-run lead to a 3-1 victory for a 4-2 series win over the Tampa Bay Rays of Florida.

It was a burning reason for glee as the Dodgers’ victory finally snapped a 32-year title drought.

It also ended two dark Octobers the past three years as the Dodgers finally killed the dreaded October curse in their third Finals appearance in the last four years.

But, more poignantly important, it also made Los Angeles the sports capital of the world as, only three weeks ago, the Lakers were crowned NBA champions after last tasting victory in 2010.

Was Turner so carried away that he should turn from heroic to hellish, chopping his 14-day quarantine to just two hours, escaping from his isolation room and hopping back into the field for the trophy presentation?

Without a mask, without a face shield and without regard for social distancing, he joined his teammates elbow-to-elbow. He hugged his teammates’ wives and kids. He embraced almost everybody, including his manager (coach) fresh from being declared as cancer-free. He grabbed the trophy, kissed it like his own prized possession—as his wife, Kourtney, looked in disbelief.

Knowingly, he could infect.

And yet, he did it. Everything.

“I don’t feel bad,” Turner said. “I feel all right.”

But his teammates aren’t all right now. They are sitting on pins and needles as they await results of tests done on them.

From champions to chariots on fire.

All because of one selfish, hasty, move.