Vaccination rules don’t tip the scales in favor of Blue Jays against American teams
Editor’s note: The situation of COVID-19, in sport and in the world, is constantly evolving. Readers in Canada can check the country’s public health website for the latest news.
TORONTO — Ever since the baseball world began to grasp the impact Canadian border entry requirements would have on unvaccinated players and their teams, a stupid, lazy narrative has persisted about the rules granting the Blue Jays Toronto an unfair advantage.
It doesn’t matter whether the COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory for foreign nationals entering the United States – click here to find it on an official government website – or whether the Blue Jays have spent a season and a half playing their games at home to Buffalo, NY and Dunedin, Florida, or that they must draw from a smaller pool of players than the other 29 clubs.
No one cares, and it was all irrelevant until unvaccinated Americans were forced onto the MLB shortlist for a streak by these annoying stalkers audaciously enforcing the same entry requirements at the borders for foreign nationals than the United States.
Consequently, interest in the matter was renewed this week when the Philadelphia Phillies arrived in Toronto with four players, including JT Realmuto, who won’t let Canada tell him what to do, before the Kansas City Royals did. follow them here on Thursday. least 10 players and three coaches.
Replacing nearly 40% of a roster could have provided the Royals with some empathy in the COVID-19 chaos the Blue Jays have faced since the pandemic began.
“It’s a difficult scenario, it’s a difficult situation. It’s been from the very beginning, » Royals manager Mike Matheny replied when asked if his experience navigating the rules has given him any new insights into what the Blue Jays have been through. “There are very capable people who have made decisions and continue to make decisions for states and countries. We just play by the rules given to us and the rules we have now have left some of our players behind and we have new players with opportunities. This is how we see it without diving deeper, but understanding that it is different and not how we would conceive of it. But that’s where we are and now we’re moving forward and we’re going to do what we’re paid to do, which is play baseball.
Now, to be fair, the Royals are mired in their own mess between shuffling staff and dealing with the fallout from comments like Whit Merrifield’s.
Still, Matheny’s comments – he could have nodded at the record of their move – are emblematic of how the Blue Jays’ fate has been largely secondary in the world of baseball to the impact that he has on the other clubs. Like the New York Yankees and others who complain about playing at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field or TD Ballpark in Dunedin.
You can’t blame the Blue Jays for being fed up with other people’s complaints.
“Everyone is kind of saying the same thing, which is, yeah, we have the same rules and we had them last year and the year before that,” the interim manager said. of the Blue Jays, John Schneider. « And if you want to go play in Dunedin, go for it. »
The Royals are the 13th visiting club to arrive in Toronto this season and the 10 players they lost, including Merrifield and coveted trade chip Andrew Benintendi, took the total number of players on the shortlist to 35 ahead of a series at Toronto.
Oakland (3): Kirby Snead, AJ Puk and C Austin Allen
Boston (3): Tanner Houck, Kutter Crawford, Jarren Duran
Seattle (1): Drew Steckenrider
Cincinnati (4): Tyler Mahle, Brandon Drury, Albert Almora and Joel Kuhnel
White Sox (2): Kendall Graveman and Dylan Cease
Twins (4): Max Kepler, Emilio Pagan, Caleb Thielbar and Trevor Megill
Orioles (2): Anthony Santander and Keegan Akin
Spokes (2): Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson
Phillies (4): JT Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola, Kyle Gibson and Bailey Falter
Royals (10): Whit Merrifield, Andrew Benintendi, Hunter Dozier, Kyle Isbel, Michael A. Taylor, Cam Gallagher, MJ Melendez, Brad Keller, Dylan Coleman and Brady Singer
Included in that list is Snead, the left-handed reliever the Blue Jays traded to Oakland as part of Matt Chapman’s deal in spring training. Barring a change of heart, he could only have pitched in road games, an obviously untenable situation.
It’s certainly a drawback in roster construction that isn’t being faced by any of the other clubs and will be a big factor for the Blue Jays heading into the trade deadline. Even if a potential unvaccinated target is ready to be vaccinated against COVID-19, arriving travelers must be 14 days ahead of their second dose before being allowed entry.
There is still scope for an unvaccinated player to change his mind and help other clubs in their series in Toronto. But with the August 2 deadline and the Blue Jays on the road until August 12, they would need a player to take their second dose by July 29 to not miss a game.
Those same challenges exist in the offseason, making free agent trades and signings all the more complicated, and the Blue Jays have an advantage all the more dumb.
“We had a disproportionate challenge for two years,” Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said in a spring interview. « There’s no doubt that we considered that in the way we ran our team and how we acquired players and talked to our players and underlined how important that is, that could be an advantage for us in certain circumstances this year. But net-net, if you were to weigh who had the advantage and the disadvantage, I would always say that we had the more difficult path in the last two years. So I’m not that sympathetic to complaints.
Nor should it be. The Canadian border entry requirements not only don’t give the Blue Jays an unfair advantage, they don’t even help balance the scales.