Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge have been two of the more noteworthy unvaccinated players in MLB over the last year or so. Rizzo was much more vocal about his vaccination status, saying that his reason for not taking the COVID vaccine was that he was “taking some more time to see the data.” Before the season, while the New York City vaccine mandate was still in place, Judge declined to reveal his vaccination status, which means there’s roughly a 99 percent chance that he was unvaccinated at the time. No one who’s vaccinated is hiding that information because for most well-adjusted people, it isn’t a big deal.
The NYC mandate has since been lifted, meaning that Toronto is the only city where MLB players must be vaccinated to play. On Monday, the Yankees played their first of nine games north of the border, a 9-1 drubbing of the Blue Jays. Judge — who homered again — and Rizzo both played, confirming that they’ve both been vaccinated.
My question is why was this the breaking point? Why was getting vaccinated not worth it to prevent possible illness and death for yourself and others, but it is to be able to play a little over 5 percent of the MLB season?
It’s only nine games after all. Judge, the man who wants to get paid like the best player in the game, is probably going to miss more than that in scheduled rest days or phantom injuries like abdominal tightness or maybe a pinkie toe strain if the training staff is feeling creative.
I’m especially curious to see what “data” Rizzo has seen since last season that compelled him to get the shot, considering it’s safe and effective now just as it was back then. Maybe he’s one of those people who’s “doing their own research” and finally got the results of the double-blind study he’s been conducting in his free time. To be completely clear, I’m thrilled that they got vaccinated. It just boggles the mind that this was their criteria for deciding to get it. I guess whatever “morals” they thought they were upholding weren’t that important after all.
While still a member of the Cubs, Rizzo also said about his decision to remain unvaccinated: “It’s not an easy decision to make, but I think it’s the right decision for me and my family right now.” This is essentially a rewording of “it’s a personal decision” which is the go-to answer for unvaccinated people that is just infuriating. Right, literally any decision you make is a “personal decision,” but what people want to know is why you made the personal decision that you did. The decision to get vaccinated is arguably one of the least “personal” decisions one can make since it affects so many others. Almost a year and a half since the vaccines have been made available, I still haven’t heard anyone with a coherent response to that follow up. If you actually did press someone like that, the only answer they’d be able to come up with would probably be, “I’m a paranoid dumbass and not doing what I should makes me feel like a real tough guy.”
If you’re a member of the small but oh-so-loud minority that comments shit like “don’t get poisoned” and “hold the line” under videos of unvaccinated players dodging questions about the vaccine, and who thinks of unvaccinated athletes as martyrs, maybe it’s time to consider that whatever cause you think you’re fighting for is completely stupid if they’re willing to abandon it to play 9 games in Toronto.