ATLANTA — Justin Turner has spent the past decade-plus of his career playing exclusively for teams in New York and Los Angeles, and from his vantage point it’s no contest which market is tougher.
The veteran infielder, set to play Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday for the Dodgers against the Braves, noted the differences to The Post after mentioning his disappointment for Luis Rojas, who won’t be returning as Mets manager. Turner played winter ball under Rojas in the Dominican Republic earlier in his career. Turner spent 2010-13 with the Mets — he was non-tendered by the club before emerging as an All-Star third baseman with the Dodgers.
“There’s a lot of stuff that comes with managing in New York that doesn’t necessarily come with managing anywhere else,” Turner said, then referring to the relatively small media turnout for his interview session on Friday. “If the Mets were playing in this series against the Braves, do you think there would be only four reporters in the room? That is the difference.
“I watched David [Wright] every day for three years stand in front of his locker after every single game, win or lose, and address 20 questions from the media. After our games, it’s one or two questions for maybe one or two players. It’s obviously even more different as a manager, having to answer, ‘Why did you do this? Why didn’t you do this?’ I feel like in New York … there is a little bit more of a burden to manage there.”
Turner isn’t taking his latest appearance in the NLCS for granted. For a sense of perspective this time of year, he reverts to his early seasons with the Dodgers and the frustration of falling short in the postseason.
He was part of talented Dodgers teams that didn’t advance past the NLDS in his first two seasons in Los Angeles. Then came a loss in the NLCS and two straight World Series appearances without a championship. In 2019, the Dodgers lost again in the NLDS. Finally came a World Series title last year.
“Nothing is taken lightly, nothing is taken for granted, so we celebrate each one of those steps that we take and enjoy it in that moment and then the next day it’s time to prepare for whatever is in front of us next,” Turner said.
Turner went 1-for-20 (.050) in the NLDS against the Giants, but was involved in the go-ahead rally in Thursday’s decisive Game 5. Turner was drilled by a Camilo Doval pitch in the ninth inning and scored on Cody Bellinger’s RBI single to give the Dodgers their margin of victory.