Saturday, November 07, 2020

Rob Manfred Doesn't Punish Cheaters, So There Was No Way He Was Going To Punish Justin Turner

We Sons of Steve Garvey have had lengthy WhatsApp chats about Justin Turner's post-Game 6 emergence onto the field following the Dodgers' World Series victory. And in a nutshell, though all of us love the guy and respect his leadership and understand his frame of mind and decision-making in the moment,...we all also think it was a pretty selfish move to endanger others' health and safety just so he could take his picture with "a piece of metal".

Oh, sure, it's been established that Turner believes that the World Series is more than a piece of metal.. And he's worked tirelessly for this achievement. And he's earned all of it, including the right to be part of the team picture celebrating victory and whole experience.

Which is why it would have been so much more meaningful and better if Turner had stayed in isolation, and had not come out of the not-quite-secure room in which he had been isolated after the eighth inning of the game. This would been the noble, albeit heartbreaking, move to make.

But Turner came out of the dugout, and despite the positive COVID-19 test result, opted to take maskless pictures with the team (in which he easily could have been photoshopped in post-production). Not a good luck for this team leader. Initially, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was not happy.

Two weeks later, MLB completed its "investigation." And, consistent with his weak-ass disciplinarian reputation, Manfred is satisfied about Turner's apology, and won't punish Turner further.

MLB is damn lucky that no one was hurt or infected by Turner's brainfart. But more striking is that Manfred, who won't exact any punishment upon a team who cheated their way to an illicit and illegitimate "championship," once again doesn't have the balls to mete out punishment. All hat, no cattle.

Not that I wanted Turner to be punished. I was conflicted on this one, too, but mostly because I've seen Turner contribute over these past five seasons like a professional and a community leader. But I'm sure that if you weren't keeping track of the Dodgers during the last five years, and the World Series was your only glimpse of him, you might be pretty angry at his selfishness. Heck, I love the guy, and I still think it was the wrong move.

But irrespective, it's clear you can get away with murder and Manfred ain't gonna do shit. So now that this is firmly established, go trade in your masks for trash cans!

Meanwhile, Turner at least had the sense to apologize (which Bill Shaikin of the LAT noted that Manfred neglected to do, in his own statement). I was surprised that Turner didn't apologize earlier--I can only assume he stayed quiet due to MLB muzzling over potential liability issues--but it was not surprising that in his public statement, Turner expressed authentic contrition:

I will not make excuses for my conduct, but I will describe my state of mind. Winning the World Series was my lifelong dream and the culmination of everything I worked for in my career. After waiting in the isolation room while my teammates celebrated on the field, I asked whether I was permitted to return to the field with my wife in order to take a photograph. I assumed by that point that few people were left on the field. I was under the impression that team officials did not object to my returning to the field for a picture with my wife. However, what was intended to be a photo capturing the two of us turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask. In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife. I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field. I have spoken with almost every teammate, coach, and staff member, and my intentions were never to make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at further risk.

All right, so we can all move on now. Turner stepped up after a bad move. Manfred again showed any hammer he might wield is a limp noodle. Let's get to the offseason.


KLD said...

I would love to have seen Turner come out in some form of a hazmat suit. This would have been hilarious and would have made a mockery of Manfred and the fiasco that was the 2020 season. Plus, it would have made Turner really stand out in a team photo. ☺