Most baseball fans know him for his hair—fire-red locks that escape from beneath his ball cap and a ZZ Top–style beard that flows down past his collar. In L.A., however, Dodger fans know Justin Turner (aka J.T.) for something else, too: consistency on the field.
Since donning Dodger blue in 2014, the power-hitting infielder has given crowds at Chavez Ravine plenty to cheer about—four All-Star game appearances and three Octobers of playoff heroics, including a pivotal role in the team’s 2017 and 2018 World Series runs. With his exciting defense and charisma to boot, it’s no wonder so many people love J.T. It’s also no surprise that the Dodgers inked him for a four-year deal in 2016.
The 34-year-old, who grew up in Long Beach, loves L.A. and considers himself a local. “It’s been amazing to come back and play in front of my hometown fans,” he says, looking back on the first few years of his career with East Coast teams. “It’s kind of a dream to be able to come back to the West Coast.” When Turner isn’t mashing homers into the left-field seats, he and his wife, Kourtney have some familiar haunts.
For lower-key local adventures, the Turners hit the hiking trails of Runyon Canyon with their dog. They go early in the day to maximize their quality time together by minimizing the number of other hikers who recognize them. “It’s still not very easy for me to hide,” Turner says, admitting that his signature locks usually give him away. “Everywhere I go, people come up to me and ask for pictures and autographs. It’s certainly nice to be loved.”
When dining out, the couple prefers quiet and casual over fancy and loud. The 62-year-old Casa Vega Mexican restaurant in Sherman Oaks is one of their favorites. The albondigas soup is “off the charts,” Turner says, and confesses that he and Kourtney can “eat chips and salsa for hours.”
Overall, one of his favorite aspects of life in Los Angeles, Turner says, is the endless array of opportunities to do, see, eat and learn. “Angelenos are great fans and great people,” he says. “It’s a dream to be part of this community again.”