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Daily Bailey: Justin Turner and the coronavirus at the World Series is Peak 2020
Daily Bailey

Daily Bailey: Justin Turner and the coronavirus at the World Series is Peak 2020

From the What you need to know for Thursday, October 29 series
Turner will not be disciplined by MLB for return to field

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series on Oct. 27.

It's hard to feel bad for Dodger fans right now, but if you take a moment and think about it that's kind of understandable.

I mean, here we are, shortly after LA ended a 32-year drought by beating Tampa Bay in a remarkable World Series, and we're not talking baseball.  

The Dodgers not only ended that drought, but they finally got over the hump after two World Series losses in the three years prior and so much recent heartbreak. And yet almost all the talk about the World Series is geared toward Justin Turner and the coronavirus.

Even the baseball talk isn't about what the Dodgers did right, but what the Rays did wrong. 

How did we get here?

Ok. Let's get into the Justin Turner debacle. 

It's Peak 2020 that the Fall Classic is marred by COVID-19. Of course Turner is going to break protocol and end up on the field during the celebration, sans mask. Of course.

I think Turner ranks third in my 'Who's To Blame' rankings. The No. 1 spot is taken up by Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred. Like, bro, you're there at the same venue. You can literally keep an eye on Turner and make sure this does not happen and ruin your game's crowning moment. 

MLB knew this was developing and a possibility hours before we did and still didn't do enough to contain either the (possible) spread of the virus or the bad optics of a maskless, confirmed positive player on the field at this moment. 

I think the Dodgers are also to blame. Like, come on, keep him off the field and out of view. 

And it totally is a bummer that Turner, one of the faces of the franchise and one of the most beloved Dodgers of this era, had this happen to him in this moment. I don't blame Turner, a SoCal native, for getting the virus and I don't blame him for wanting to be on the field, but he has to share some responsibility for how this all played out. MLB and the club needed to find a way to placate him and keep him off the field.

At this point I'm not even mad or surprised this happened. I'm just exhausted.

Cash's move wasn't on the money

The biggest in-game flash-point from this World Series series clincher came when Rays manager Kevin Cash pulled ace Blake Snell, the 2019 Cy Young winner, in the sixth inning Tuesday. Snell had gone 5 1/3 innings, struck out nine and allowed just two hits, one of which was a single to Austin Barnes, the No. 9 hitter, with one out in the sixth. 

The Rays were up 1-0 and the Nos. 1-3 hitters for LA had gone 0-for-6 with 6 Ks against the lefty. 

I'm not going to act like I've got a handle on any of the analytics you can point to in that situation. Cash had a plan and had the information to feel confident he was making the right move, but this is a clear case of thinking too much with your head and not your gut.

There's so much statistical information in the game of baseball and most organizations are finding ways to beautifully employ that information. But the game is played by people and every move is connected and not every situation is the same. You have to factor the moment in.

People in general, and athletes in particular, have consistently shown an ability to overcome just about any statistical disadvantage. Snell does lose effectiveness deep in games, but this is the World Series. 

You can't be 100-percent analytically minded or 100-percent player focused. I think Cash was way too analytical in this spot. 

Just think if Cash leaves Snell in and they get an inning-ended double play there. How much momentum does that create? Your players can feed off that confidence and belief instead of just relegating their fates to a numbers game. 

If Cash left Snell in there and he gets out of that "jam", the Rays win that game and we're playing a Game 7 (hopefully).

Congrats, Dodgers!

With all that said, congratulations to the Dodgers and ending their drought. They've definitely earned it. I know how hard these droughts can be on a fan. My Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2009! And I've only had five titles in my 33 years! Maybe my drought will end next year.

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