Canada’s vaccination mandate saves lives. It promotes good public health. It also helps baseball fans figure out which players could care about the win.
Canada, like the United States, requires all non-citizen travelers to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 upon entry into the country. That means anyone whose team is scheduled to play an away game against Toronto blue jay has the opportunity to demonstrate his priorities.
Sometimes players tell you with their actions as if they are unvaccinated Red Sox closer Tanner Houck watched from afar as his Toronto team conceded late-inning losses in four games. And sometimes they tell you in their words. kings Second baseman and outfielder Whit Merrifieldannounced by Kansas City on Wednesday is one of 10 players – nearly 40% of the roster – who will be ineligible for this weekend’s series in Toronto, said Reporter: “The only reason I would think about [the vaccine] At this point it should go to Canada. That could change later. Something happens and I happen to end up on a team that has a chance to play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that will change. But sitting here now, I’m comfortable with my decision.”
Did you get that? If Merrifield played for a good team, he would take care of his teammates. But he doesn’t, so he takes four days off.
It’s actually eight days off because the Blue Jays series is the last before the All-Star break, and Merrifield wasn’t named to the American League All-Star team.
That makes sense: He’s not a winning player. It’s not one of those scientists in baseball pants. (This is a quintessentially American brand of silliness: Foreign-born players had to deal with US immigration requirements to play the season, so almost all of them are vaccinated.) Professional athletes have more resources than almost anyone else in the world, but some of them cannot muster the energy to do enough research to conclude that every expert concludes: vaccines are safe and effective. You give us our best chance of containing a pandemic that has already killed a million Americans and transformed the lives of millions more. And players who refuse to get those vaccines — aside from helping to spread this pandemic — risk destroying their clubhouses and dashed their teams’ playoff hopes.
Scroll to Next
The best teams in baseball have figured that out. That Yanks (who are 61-26 years old) are fully vaccinated. That Astros (57–29) are fully vaccinated. That dodgers (56-30) will not be playing in Toronto this year during the regular season, so we don’t know specific players’ immunization status, but they did meet the 85% immunization threshold MLB imposed last season for reduced COVID restrictions. catcher Kevin Plawecki of the Red Sox (47-41), SI said this spring that he would be getting vaccinated so he could be present at his team’s playoff push; Center fielder Jarren Duran told reporters this month he would do the same.
“I think if our team was in a different part of the rankings, it would be different,” Dayton Moore, the Royals’ (35-53) president of baseball operations, told SI on Wednesday night. He added, “It’s disappointing.”
The 10 ineligible players banned from playing against the Blue Jays broke the previous record set by the Phillies with four. Moore claimed the number isn’t quite as disproportionate as it seems because the royals haven’t manipulated it by picking players or sending them to the injured list, as he said some other teams have done. “That would have been the easiest thing,” he says.
Still, things could have been worse – Moore said several royals had received vaccines since spring training. He declined to specify how many or when, but said team officials have spent two seasons encouraging players to get vaccinated. They have made doctors available 24/7 to answer questions and dispatched University of Kansas health system workers to vaccinate players and their families at home.
“It’s up to the players to decide,” he said. “Sometimes it got – I wouldn’t say combative, but there comes a point where you don’t make much progress with it. … It’s been harder to convince players to get vaccinated in the last three to four months than it was in the first three to four months when the vaccine first came out.”
That leaves him with 10 players who would rather watch their team lose on TV than try to help them win. And indeed, he could get stuck with them – it’s hard to imagine a competitor who could face the Blue Jays in the postseason targeting a player who is ineligible for those games. Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy told SI during spring training that vaccination status would affect acquisitions.
“It has to, doesn’t it?” he said. “You want guys who are available.”
They also want guys who want to win games.
More MLB Coverage:
• Judge vs. Ohtani MVP race on historic track
• MLB Power Rankings: Biggest All-Star snub on each team
• Kyle Farnsworth’s foray into bodybuilding
• The science behind the rise of the slider