Yankees, White Sox Set Great MLB Example Regarding COVID Vaccine

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As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to rollout across the country, some Major League Baseball teams are doing a much better job with the process than others. Obviously, MLB players, for the most part, are not typically in the categories and demographic classifications that are high risk, and therefore prioritized in the rollout.

However, at this stage in the game, most states have opened up or will soon open up to all adults, regardless of health or employment status. And while we don’t have time to go team when it comes spotlighting who’s doing right, who’s doiing wrong and who is a mixed bag. Let’s start with the New York Yankees, who are on the right side of history here.

The Yankees are a little bit ahead of the curve here, as they released the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:

“The New York Yankees would like to offer their sincere thanks to Dr. Philip Ozuah, President of Montefiore Medical Center, and the hard-working and dedicated group of medical staff from this Bronx-based hospital, who have been on-site at Yankee Stadium this evening to administer COVID vaccinations to New York Yankees players, coaches, field staff and support staff.

“This process has been seamless and efficient, and we are grateful that by receiving the vaccine, we can contribute to stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

There you have it- to the point, simple, effective- this is how it’s done. The Chicago White Sox are on the ball too, releasing this statement on Sunday morning.

Exactly- that’s it, that’s the tweet. Encourage others to do their part, by setting an example. We’re in basically the 6th inning or so of this pandemic, but we’re also at a crossroads. If we trust the science, and follow the guidelines, we can get those last 12 outs that we need and get past this thing.

If we go in the opposite direction, and act ignorant and careless, well this is going to be a plague that goes into extra innings. The White Sox chief rival, the Minnesota Twins, also set a good example on their social media when it comes to getting vaxxed.

If only the Chicago Cubs were on the same page as Cub Pharmacy. Reports indicate some vaccine resistance and hesistancy within the ballclub. They’re still “having discussions” on this “issue.” MLB will loosen restrictions for clubs that reach the 85% threshhold of tier 1 (basically everybody with the job title that was listed in the Yankees statement) individuals vaccinated.

The Cubs are simply not there yet, and who knows when they’ll get there. Manager David Ross is encouraging members of the club to get their shot, and he says progress is being made. The only Cub to speak out about the vaccine, for or against is all-star shortstop Javy Báez.

“I decided to get it,” Baez said Monday.

“Me and my family, we decided to get it. It’s optional to the people who want it. A lot of people believe in it. A lot of people don’t believe in it. I think a lot of people should try it.

“Obviously, we want the best for everybody. I got my first shot, so we’ll see how it goes with the second one.”

Now he is right, it IS a personal choice, legally, but the problem comes with his horrifying both sidesim, false equivalency that he provided right there.

Medical science isn’t something you choose to “believe” in or not. It just is, and vaccine efficacy does not care whether you believe in it or not.

Baez is right, some people don’t believe in getting the vaccine, but to phrase it that way, which makes it sound like the two groups are on equal footing, is very irresponsible on his part. It’s especially disappointing given that he himself got the shot, and therefore is in the group of so-called “believers.”

He has a very large public platform, and he can use it to help spread knowledge and awareness when it comes to the vaccine, instead of trying to play some kind of centrist on an issue that isn’t even up for debate.

That said, the Cubs are still doing some good things regarding the vaccine, see below:

And they did enable a mass-vaccination site just outside their ballpark. Honestly, getting and scheduling a vaccine, when you’re a regular, everyday person without any special connections can be very difficult. It’s all in the logistics, where it can sometimes be a nightmare.

The last thing we need is some kind of goofy, faux-debate about the vaccine’s effectiveness. People look up to baseball players, and it’s good that some are hitting a grand slam as role models on this “issue.” Meanwhile others are just plain whiffing.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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