SummaryThe Dodgers have a void so big to fill that no trade or signage can ever replenish it.
Nevermind that the Dodgers traded the Marlins for Miguel Rojas securing a backup for multiple infield positions in case their plans of going young doesn’t pay off. Nevermind their international signing of the #3 overall prospect to secure the future of the shortstop position. The Dodgers have a void so big to fill that no trade or signage can ever replenish it. Oh, captain, my red-headed captain–farewell Justin Turner.
In 2014, then-general manager Ned Colletti took a shot by signing the Mets castoff utility man after Tim Wallach saw him hitting at an alumni game at Cal State Fullerton. Since then, Turner led the Dodgers to 8 National League West Pennants, 3 National League championships, and one World Series win. He became the all-time postseason leader in hits, RBIs, doubles, and plate appearances and was a vital piece of the 2020 World Series championship.
Hollywood loves an underdog story, and Turner’s story is a reflection of the narrative surrounding the dark horse arc. After the Dodgers bought his contract when Hanley Ramirez went down, Turner continued to get consistent at-bats during the 2014 season, and ended the year batting .340.
Season after season, Justin continued to overperform any expectations the team had for him by earning the respect of young players, playing himself into two All-Star games and earning an NLCS Co-MVP while playing for his hometown team.
How can LA forget his walk-off homerun against the Chicago Cubs in the 2017 NLCS on the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s World Series infamous homer.
How can LA forget his double play during a decisive game 7 in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves where he dives to tag Dansby Swanson and from his knees, throws to Seager covering third to tag Austin Riley.
How can LA forget how he put the whole team in danger after testing positive for COVID and celebrating with everyone after winning the World Series at the peak of COVID in 2020. A smudge on his stellar career in the city of Angels. No virus was going to stop him from celebrating his magnum opus
Justin Turner led by example, showing up whenever the team needed him the most and giving back to his hometown of Los Angeles. During his last season with the Dodgers, he received the Roberto Clemente award, citing it as one of his biggest accomplishments in his baseball career.
As a freeagent during the 2023 offseason, Justin Turner signed a 1-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, ending a spectacular 9-year tenure with his home team. The Dodgers created a video montage of his time with the team, giving him a fitting Hollywood goodbye.
There’s a movie troupe that’s constantly used where you have the main character saying goodbye to something of significance because of circumstances out of his or her control.
You have Julian saying goodbye to Sonny after he is being taken away from him by Social Services in Big Daddy, the teenage basketball player, Josh, returning Buddy, the golden retriever, back to his owner in Air Bud, and Emily staring at the love of her life and knowing its over after finding out his ex-girlfriend is pregnant at the end of Emily in Paris Season 3.
Now, we can add Justin Turner saying goodbye to a team that saw him achieve everything a kid who grew up cheering for LA ever dreamt of–a true Hollywood ending. No other player will pride himself in representing the Dodgers as much as Justin Turner. So long, Captain.
Photo by: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images