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NYC and Canada’s COVID 19 Regulations Could Impact the 2022 Yankees

NYC and Canada’s COVID 19 Regulations Could Impact the 2022 Yankees

by Owen Hetherington

March 17, 2022

I’ll be honest, the thought of unvaccinated players not being able to play in NYC and Canada this season never crossed my mind until Sunday morning during Aaron Boone’s press conference.

To give some context, with Canada’s tight COVID mandates, unvaccinated players will not be allowed to travel to Toronto this season.

According to Jon Heyman, this could significantly impact the Yankees.

Yankees would miss a chunk of the middle of their order if unvaccinated players can’t play in Toronto. Red Sox would be missing many more players. — Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 13, 2022

Then, as we learned on Tuesday, the Yankees and Mets will also have to adhere to New York City’s private employer mandate, which means unvaccinated players will not be eligible to take the field in New York!

Spoke to a City Hall spokesperson and the Yankees and Mets fall under the same private sector mandate as Kyrie Irving and the Nets. No difference because it's an outdoor sport. Spokesperson cautioned that things could change by Opening Day. Story posted shortly — Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) March 15, 2022

This is concerning.

When asked about concern over vaccine status in the Yankees’ locker room, Aaron Boone said, “I think we still have a few guys at least that aren’t vaccinated, so we’ll be monitoring that situation closely and see how that plays out. But yeah, it’s a concern”.

Yes, it is a concern. The Yankees play three series (nine games total) against the Blue Jays this season, making their first trip to Toronto on May 2nd.

But, playing in Toronto is only 5% of the battle. There are the other 81 home games we must think about.

As of right now, we don’t exactly know who is and who isn’t unvaccinated. Both the Yankees and Mets are rumored to have “high profile players” who are unvaccinated. Should these players refuse vaccination before the start of the regular season, the Yankees could find themselves in a Brooklyn Nets-Kyrie Irving situation.

Aaron Judge, rumored to be unvaccinated, was asked by the media his thoughts on the NYC private employer vaccine mandate.

Judge replied, “I’m so focused on getting to the first game of spring training. So, I think we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. Right now, so many things could change. So, I’m not really too worried about that right now”, said Judge.

According to a letter from players’ union deputy general counsel Matt Nussbaum to MLB senior vice president Patrick Houlihan, unvaccinated players will not be eligible to join the COVID IL in 2020 and 2021. Rather, the player will be placed on the restricted list. The difference: unvaccinated players will not earn service time/be paid for the games they miss for being unvaccinated.

How this rule changes or doesn’t change throughout the season could severely impact the Yankees.

Aaron Boone said conversations would be had in the event of it “becoming an issue”.

#Yankees manager Aaron Boone on having unvaccinated players that (under current Canadian border rules) will not be able to play games in Toronto. — Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) March 13, 2022

“Now, if it’s something that becomes an issue, yeah I would have conversions with guys. But ultimately, it’s something that I do look at as a personal choice. I understand it’s one of those things that’s kind of polarized us unfortunately as a nation, as a world”, said Boone.

I agree with Boone that vaccination status should be a personal choice. But every choice has a consequence and unvaccinated players will be punished without pay for the games they miss playing in NYC and Toronto.

Vaccine status is going to be something that Yankees fans are going to want to keep an eye on come Opening Day on April 7th when the Yankees take on the Red Sox at home.

As Marly Rivera of ESPN reported, the Yankees are aware of the mandate and are working with NYC officials to get a resolution, hopefully before Opening Day. For now, we will have to hold our breath and wait how things play out.

The Union and clubs have known for around 48 hours, and have been working with the New York City Mayor’s Office regarding any requirement for MLB players to be vaccinated in order to be able to play in New York City ballparks, sources tell ESPN. — Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) March 15, 2022

For now, this not an ideal situation for the Yankees.

Time will tell, but the clock is clicking.

If the Yankees lose a player, or numbers of players to this law, it will, negatively impact on their season.

Stay tuned!


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