Dodgers baseman Turner was pulled out of Game 6 in the World Series when officials were informed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the star out of the win that clinched a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Fans were astonished as the 35-year-old was seen back on the field surrounded by his teammates during ecstatic scenes in Arlington, where he hugged members of the squad, casually took his protective face mask off and kissed a woman as he basked in the glory of the Dodgers’ triumph.
“Thanks to everyone reaching out,” Turner told his following of almost 238,000 on Twitter, writing as a backlash spiraled against a decision that appeared to have directly contravened guidelines.
“I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine.”
He then mystified viewers who had seen him at the center of the ceremony on television by claiming: “Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys.
“So proud of this team and unbelievably happy for the city of LA.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that Turner had been taken out in the seventh inning and “immediately isolated to prevent the spread” of the coronavirus.
Almost nine million people in the US, where the virus has been named as the cause of more than 227,000 deaths.
“That guy is beyond selfish,” wrote a teacher, responding to a clip of Turner grinning as he tore off his mask and sat among the squad as they posed for photos. “Zero respect for him.”
Another said: “Can’t wait for the rest of the Dodgers to test positive because of his selfishness.”
Turner was seen striding proudly around the turf with the trophy, causing one critic to call him a “f*cking lunatic”.
Others pointed to the high recovery rate for those who are infected by the virus and argued that Turner was entitled to join teammates who he had already been around in the days leading up to the game.
“Let the man have his moment with his girl,” wrote one, replying to a screenshot of the live coverage that showed Turner locking lips with a woman while a caption announced that he had the virus.
“He literally just accomplished his dream after being a cast-off.”
By mid-October, 91 out of 169,143 from 21 MLB teams had returned positive test results, with players making up almost two-thirds of the infected individuals. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report attributed the low figure to social distancing.