LOS ANGELES – Justin Turner grew up rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When the Dodgers finally won the World Series on October 27, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series, Turner was unable to participate in the celebration. One of his COVID-19 tests came back positive, forcing him to be retired before the eighth inning. Inside a doctor’s office at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, he watched Julio Urias record the last out.
Turner, speaking before the ring ceremony Friday afternoon, called it “a great void.”
“As happy as I was, and as excited as I was, that Julio got that last out, at the same time I felt like I was sitting there watching a team celebrate the World Series for the third time in my career,” Turner said. “This (the ceremony) will be very special, it will be something that I will enjoy, but I do not think it will replace the place of that moment of the last out and be able to celebrate on the field with my teammates,” he added.
Turner received a rousing standing ovation when he was first introduced to the 15,036 fans who attended the first home game, then an even louder one when he homered off Washington Nationals reliever Luis Avilan to give the Dodgers an advantage. 1-0 in the sixth.
Turner and his teammates received their rings after personalized messages of congratulations from the players they grew up idolizing. Turner was introduced by Gary Sheffield. Clayton Kershaw was introduced by Will Clark, who inspired him to wear the number 22. Walker Buehler was introduced by Bronson Arroyo, who sang “Wonderwall.” Dustin May was introduced by Alex Rodríguez, who was greeted by a chorus of boos. And Edwin Ríos was introduced by Ichiro Suzuki, who summoned his best Spanish to say: “I don’t have a ring. Give me yours.”
The Dodgers honored the late Tommy Lasorda. His daughter, Laura, addressed the crowd. Owner and President Mark Walter delivered a speech during which he praised Dodger Stadium for serving as a vaccination center during the pandemic. And Dodgers owner Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti raised the championship flag in center field.