When Justin Turner signed with the Red Sox this offseason, it was a blow to the entire organization, from the front office, coaches, and players all the way down to the fans. Turner has become an icon in Los Angeles, and he and his wife, Kourtney, will be greatly missed.
Turner’s former teammate Max Muncy talked with Dodgers Nation this week about losing JT, and he brought up a lot of ways we, as fans, didn’t even realize he was the glue that held the clubhouse together.
“That one hurt. All of those guys leaving hurt, obviously. It’s just, you spend every day with these guys and you develop such relationships with them. And even Trea [Turner], only having been with us for the year and a half that he was, those guys leaving, it really hurts. But with JT, man, that’s a really tough one. That’s his clubhouse. That was his clubhouse. He controlled everything.
“There’s so many little things that JT brought to the team that no one even knows about. Just little things as simple as, every year we have a group chat with all the players, JT is the guy that sets all that up. He’s the one that’s figuring out who’s getting called up, who’s getting sent down, he’s changing out the numbers. And that’s not to say that not anybody can do that, but he took it upon himself to do that, because that’s the kind of the leader he was.
“Every time we flew into a city, JT is setting up a team dinner at a restaurant for everybody … and I know that JT always focused on that because if the whole team is going out and doing that, we’re creating such a brotherhood that it’s easier to play for each other when you just have those kind of relationships. And that was something that JT brought to the team, and there’s countless other things that he would do that people don’t know about. And so not having him, that one’s really going to hurt.”Max Muncy talking in a conversation with Doug McKain of Dodgers Nation
As Muncy said, it’s not that those things are irreplaceable. There’s nothing about setting up a group chat that is unique to JT’s skillset. But the point is that those things will need to be replaced. Someone (or, more likely, multiple someones) will need to step up and be in charge of those things.
The fact that Turner did those things on his own is what makes him special. His departure opens up some of those leadership opportunities for someone else, and hopefully everyone has learned enough from him that they can carry on seamlessly. But yes, JT will be missed, even more than we originally realized.
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