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Dodgers: Joe Kelly Slams MLB’s Unsafe Bubble Environment in Wake of Turner Positive



The LA Dodgers won the World Series with a game 6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays last week in what ended in one of the more 2020 ways possible. As we know, Justin Turner received a positive COVID test back mid-game and was subsequently removed from the game and sent to a space to quarantine while the team finished the job. After the club won, Turner wasn’t about to let his team celebrate without him and returned to the field, which is a whole other can of worms on its own.

But the question is, how do you get coronavirus in a ‘bubble’?

Reliever Joe Kelly had that same question… and you know Kelly is going to bring the heat with something like this.

“I want to know who gave him the Corona,” Kelly said on Boston radio network WEEI. “If it’s a bubble how do you get the Corona in the bubble?”

It turns out that the bubble wasn’t actually much of a bubble at all. Of course, that was obvious to anyone already in just watching the games. More than 11,000 fans had been allowed at the ballpark for each game since the NLCS. And three games were played with the roof closed. Moreover, some media members weren’t forced to stay in the isolated environment, like for example, broadcaster Joe Buck who continued his duties calling NFL games for FOX and bouncing around from ballpark to ballpark.

So with Turner’s positive, it’s safe to say that the bubble in fact burst. And according to Kelly, it seems like it was doomed to fail from the start.

It makes sense [someone got the virus]. It’s a secure zone, but it was the first time in my life I have felt insecure. I was insecure in the secure zone. It wasn’t called the bubble. It was called the secure zone, for people who don’t know.

We were at a nice hotel, a beautiful hotel in Las Colinas and there is a golf course there and I happened to have a room, a villa, on the 18th green, which is pretty crazy because it’s a secure zone, but my room, I would say, is no more than 20 yards from the green it’s still open to the public. So it’s a bubble except golfers are hitting golf balls next to my window and then crossing the secure zone tape line. People are yelling at them and the golfers are yelling back saying, ‘No, I’m going to get my ball.’ It wasn’t as secure as one might think because like I said there was still a golf course open to the public 20 yards away from us every single day.

So yeah, not exactly an airtight bubble or ‘secure zone.” Kelly continued.

We weren’t allowed to play golf according to the rules and the tiers, but I saw a lot of golf clubs in the hotel. I know for fact that people staying in the hotel were playing golf that weren’t baseball players. It was media. It was on-field talents. Umpires. They were still allowed to play golf, but we weren’t because apparently the coronavirus knows baseball players should get it more than PR and hotel staff and umpires. It’s a smart virus.

Kelly -1, bubble – 0. The always verbose right-hander wrapped up his thought.

It doesn’t make sense. Hotel staff… they come deliver room service. They’re supposed to leave it at the door and numerous times they come in the room and deliver your food and these hotel staff members go home every single day to their family and not stay at the hotel so how is it a secure zone or bubble? Yeah, we got lucky I feel like. If we weren’t aware as players to try and stay away from getting it and we let our guard down I’m sure it could have been more than just one.

For Major League Baseball to come out and throw Justin Turner so very firmly under the bus with their statement the day after the World Series just shows the insecurities of the league over their ‘secure zone.’ It was doomed to fail from the start because the league is not smart enough or thorough enough to be successful in potentially volatile situations where public perception will damn them. MLB was soft in creating their bubble and may have just created a fancy prison for the players over a safe environment for the entirety of staffers.

But in a world with Rob Manfred at the helm, that just seems like par for the course.

However, if the plan is to ensure at least one scandal per offseason to keep baseball relevant and in the public eye throughout the year, Manfred is knocking it out of the park.

NEXT: Walker Buehler Gives His Take on the Justin Turner Situation

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. This whole “quarantine” or “bubble” approach to the playoffs was always more political than scientific. No credible scientific study could have so many loose, unstable, unverified and unknown inputs. Just for example: food preparation, food delivery, the environments at the hotel and ballpark, and the transportation to and from those locations, etc.

    MLB went with this approach to quell criticism of allowing the Playoffs and World Series to go forward at all. I myself and very happy that it WAS done this way, and I think that they did as good a job as possible. It was amazing luck that there were no positive tests before what turned out to be the last game.

    As far as Justin Turner goes, I fully understand and sympathize with his emotions upon being removed from the celebration. He knows it mostly political, and it made him understandably angry. On the other hand though, he will be faced with the ongoing repercussions, and will at least have to wonder if his actions were worth the trouble.

    • Well said all-around.
      Obviously most people will never be in a situation like Justin, where they have just achieved the absolute pinnacle of their career, and have to decide whether to play politics, or celebrate with the team.

      • How is deliberately placing the health and lives of other people a political statement? Justin Turner is a disgrace and MLB should take action, including a substantial suspension and fine and possibly banning him from MLB. Justin Turner has shown by his actions that he cares nothing about placing people in danger of a horrible disease and death and places his own personal gratification over the lives and safety of others. And Dodger management should also be held accountable for allowing Justin Turner’s conduct during the post-game celebration to happen. The example that Justin Turner and the Dodgers are setting is atrocious.

        • You think Manfred is going to ban anyone? He doesn’t even ban cheaters. But come to think of it he may ban someone over this and not cheating that line up with his stupidity

        • Brian, what would JT give the team, post game, more than he had given them up until the 8th inning? They had been with him all that time, what did another hour hurt? They were in no more danger after the game than they were with him during the game. Can you get that?

          • Fair question. However, once he learned of his infection he should have ceased contact with everyone. Your logic would only apply if one were to assume that before learning of his own infection, JT managed to effectively infect everyone on the team and anyone else JT came into contact with (directly and indirectly) after learning of his infection. I believe that was not the case, and that he continued to shed coronavirus to people that were not yet infected. For many people, we are not talking about the sniffles. The consequence for some people is death or a lifetime of illness or damage to their bodies.
            But with respect to the issue of those that may have already been infected by JT, that merely indicates that the entire team should be quarantined.

    • It’s not anthrax! People get it and have no symptoms! Can we say that about the common cold? I’m sure JT and his teammates have no regrets. And lets see if anyone else catches it or even gets sick.

      • Some people do NOT have NO symptoms! Do you not keep up!? Some people can die and many have debilitating symptoms for long long afterwards. You sir do not have someone who died close to you or even care.

      • Just because you have symptoms does not mean you can’t transfer it to someone who may have serious symptoms.

  2. Whoaaa. Better zip it up, Joe. That’ll probably cost you a 90 game suspension. Manfred is such an idiot and hates the Dodgers. Jeez, he couldn’t figure out why he was booed during the presentation??? Anyways, rumors have it that COVID was placed on a fly by Correa (with help from Manny) to infect the Dodgers. They were overheard discussing the plot at the strip club (oh “gentlemen club” ) in San Diego along with Tommy Pham.

  3. MLB should not be in a position to fine the Dodgers or Justin Turner for coming out to take photos with his team and the trophy. The season was officially over after the last pitch of the World Series.

  4. I’m sorry people had to bring him food…he should be able to cook his own food and go out and buy his own supplies…he sounds like such a intilted whinner. If he didn’t want to make his millions cause he was scared he could of denied to play and go home…maybe think of thiAt next season…
    But again only the intilted have an opinion…think of the people that had to serve all of them… just to be able to have a job…hospitality business isn’t doing so great…but I am sure you tipped well…
    GOD!!

    • You missed the point entirely, he probably ‘would’ cook food…AT HOME but not on the road. And pray tell how do you stay in a bubble while going to a market or two to get supplies? He’s not lording it up, he was just dealing with the same situation we all are in to a different degree….less of the ‘poor commoner is me’ attitude.

  5. The first major US league I watched was the NBA, so my reference to a commissioner position was David Stern. When I started watching the NFL, I thought, “How does Roger Goodell keep this job? There must be someone better out there.” So I started watching MLB. God, Roger Goodell looks like a very solid commissioner. And David Stern looks like God. I mean, Rob Manfred is terrible. TERRIBLE. The only advantageous thing about the job, in my view, is to increase the league’s revenue. There is someone who can increase league revenue as much (or even more) and do a better job in other areas. Neither the NBA nor the NFL has its actions so questioned. There is no such thing as “let me think better if they are wrong; they deserve credit”. There is no credit. They are terrible.

  6. Why was the test result for Justin later than all the other players? They should know everyone is negative before going out on the field. Justin came out on the field during his quarantine to be a part of the World Series excitement. I recorded it. He stayed in one place on the field ; other people came up to him. He had his mask on because I wasn’t sure it was him. He took it off for the team photo. I would too!!! I do not blame him for going on the field. This win of the World Series took so much from the guys. They were fantastic! Justin is symptom free. Where did he get the virus? Could this be a false positive. Congratulations Justin! You were great! I am a true blue Dodger fan. So excited for you!
    Enjoy your Victory! ???

  7. Since Turner had not enough regard for his teammates to stay in quarantine as he should have, what’s to say he had the intelligence and concern to respect the secure zone in the first place. He may have exposed himself carelessly just as he exposed others carelessly by breaking quarantine and ignoring security’s efforts after the game?

    • He was with these guys the whole game! Plenty of time for exposure to happen. So getting a picture taken a few minutes later seems irrelevant. I side with JT! And please resign him!

  8. This whole thing from the start has been a total unnecessary assault on the lives of the american people. Simply it’s an economic reset, orchestrated by the very rich, forcibly placed in the hands of most of those with less. Fraught with hypocrisy and inconsistency, and lousy science, it places the responsibility for all of us to defy and not comply….Kelly, Turner and hopefully more will lead by example.

  9. Mask on – Mask off. Who cares in Justin’s case. Too little, too late. I’ve been shaving since masks became critical because I was told that masks are basically a joke if you have a beard. And mine was nothing compared to Justin’s old growth face forest! Hope no one else gets or already got it because of MLB’s amateur security slop. And ESPECIALLY hope that nobody innocent like Kershaw’s cute little boppers gets it. Also… CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE SERIES DODGERS!!

  10. Forgive me if I don’t weep for Joe Kelly. If the golfers made your bubble less secure, close the patio doors and stay inside. If room service wants to come in rather than leave it on the door, keep the door shut. Order pizza.

    Before you complain about bubbles, tell me how much you donated to emergency rooms where nurses wore the same mask all day because there wasn’t enough PPE. Tell me how much you donated to LA Public schools to assure kids had internet and could be successful at virtual learning.

    Good to know you’ll never have to worry about CoViD. It’s gonna be pretty hard to get it with your head so far up your ass.

    • That wasn’t the point. The point is the so called bubble wasn’t much of one at times so Turner could’ve gotten it from anyone. Try not to let your bias dictate how you interpret basic information

  11. It was probably a false positive. This highly contagious disease they talk about would of been spread. Someone on the team and at the least his wife would of came down with the covid. And he never had symptoms. Something is fishy to me.

  12. I am so proud to be a dodger fan. I love that they have justins back. You know Manfred the whole team worked hard to win the World Series. It’s obvious You are not a dodger fan. Your making a bigger deal about this world series than you did the last 3 years with the Astros cheating you did not punish the players for CHEATING. I think you should be replaced because there is no room for playing favorites. We all have Justin’s back no matter what you say.
    LET THEM ENJOY THEIR VICTORY THEY DESERVE IT.

    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE DODGERS from all of us fans in the INLAND EMPIRE

  13. The MLB “bubble” could never have been full-proof because other than the dodgers every other team entering the globe life stadium bubble had been at other satellite bubbles. There were just way too many opportunities to contaminate the bubble that could never be controlled unless all of the teams played at one single site similar to the NBA. And to Joe Kelly’s point there were so many non players violating the rules to ever be sure it was clean. Will MLB investigate the media or umpires for violations? I wouldn’t care to see Joe Buck get a good suspension! And honestly there is no way to make any environment 100% secure as long as we breathe air. To me it’s a non story because I believe none of the players/coaches/etc around the team will have any issues or spread the virus. And regardless of turner being positive or not , all of the people in the bubble were still scheduled to be tested and quarantined anyway before being let back in society.

  14. Way to go Dodgers! Way to go Justin Turner! Way to go Joe Kelly for standing up for your teammate! What’s a secure bubble in the first place? Amongst something that has been so hyped and blown out of proportion, these guys are living a dream most of us will never know! And at the same time offering us a little normalcy.
    I hate that the media and MLB are making such a big deal of this. If the virus is such a threat, then maybe they shouldn’t have been playing at all, no fans in the stadium, no one making money off of baseball.. Oh wait, talk about taking the money away and they find ways to work around the problem.
    Fact is, it was the players choice to play the partial season, play in the post season and capture a title. Why try to take the glory from them over something so ridiculous.
    As I sit in a restaurant full of people, no face masks, trying to restore normalcy. There is nothing we can do to protect ourself from the unknown, or what may happen. Live life to the fullest, you only have one! Go Dodgers!

  15. MANFRED should look at what he done as far as punishment to the ….CHEATERS….THE HOUSTON ASTROS…. absolutely not one thing !!! what the Astros did was just as severe as THE….BLACK SOX SCANDAL , or a player can be convicted of doing a very heavy drug 7 Times and still allowed to participate in Baseball ,but a man who gambled on his team is thrown out of Baseball , your telling your child that’s it is OK to do drugs but don’t gamble , Yes , covid is serious and should not be taken lightly , But to punish Turner in a strong way is not acceptable, Was he wrong ? yes ! But was also caught up in the moment , I am sure TURNER would not intentionally want to infect anyone , MLB will just have to wait, and see if any the outbreak amongst players and family arise and take it from there. THANK YOU DODGERS ….AND JUSTIN YOU ARE DEFINITELY INCLUDED.

  16. Seems strange that there has been no info on whether or not Justin tested positive for the virus after the game and no mention of anyone contracting the disease from contact with Justin. Also nothing said about his health now.

  17. I’m glad Justin celebrated with his team. He deserved to be with his team. If the MLB was so worried about Covid they should not allowed fans in the stands I didnt see any social distancing in the stands or among the players tv crews. I also haven’t heard of any other players testing positive or family members being sick. Leave Turner alone. He is part of the glue that holds that team together.

  18. Since Turner already played 7 innings, do you think it matters that he came back on the field?

  19. the question was never “why did turner come onto the field”. he was no more dangerous in the post game celebration than he was in the first inning. he made no one less safe by going onto the field because the bubble was already infected.

    the question has always been, “how did JT become infected”, but no one seems to ever want to ask the right question these days. when the virus appears, common sense leaves the room.

    • Browdie said: “he made no one less safe by going onto the field because the bubble was already infected.” But, “bubbles” do not get infected. People get infected. And by the 7th inning when JT and the Dodgers found out that JT was infected, he had not necessarily completed the infection of everyone that he exposed from that point forward. And that continued exposure is what could have been avoided and was not avoided at all. Not even a mask. It was a disgrace.

      And the Dodgers should now all be quarantined. And anyone else in contact with JT. Not as punishment. But to protect the people who would otherwise be infected if they do not quarantine.

      Just common sense. Unfortunately, it is in short supply.

  20. a lot of people and young kids look up to jt. understanding how you must have felt to celebrate. dont forget what you represent. SAME ON YOU. it was shelfish

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