The Vaccine Drama in Kansas City

Ten Kansas City Royals players, including four top hitters and two of their best starting pitchers this season, will not travel to Toronto this week for the four-game series with the Blue Jays because they have not received the COVID-19 vaccination.

Players who are unvaccinated and don’t make the trip to Toronto are placed on the restricted list and forfeit service time and salary for the four games missed.

Two-time All-Star Whit Merrifield was the only one who implied the decision was conditional on playing for a contender. Merrifield saw a predictable amount of criticism for acknowledging the 35-53 Royals’ lack of competitiveness played a role in a decision that affected his health and the health of those around him. This is what Merrifield said that for many people upset:

“Right or wrong, I didn’t do it on a whim,” Merrifield said. “It’s been a long thought process because I understand what Canada has in place right now. That’s the only reason I would think about getting it at this point to go to Canada. That might change down the road. If something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes. But as we sit here right now, I’m comfortable with my decision, my teammates support me, support the rest of the guys in here who have made that decision, and that’s that.”

Vaccines have been an issue for not just athletes but many people around the world. The obligation is irritating people who don’t believe in the vaccine. It’s understandable because it’s your body, your choice. 

Kansas City will summon reinforcements from its Triple-A and Double-A affiliates to fill out the extensive league roster.

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