No, Toronto isn’t getting a ‘competitive advantage’ due to Canada’s vaccine mandate

The Blue Jays are lucky to have vaccinated players like Bo Bichette (left) and George Springer.
Image: Getty Images

Brandon Nimmo wants everyone to know that he’s “thankful” for New York mayor Eric Adams’ decision to cave in to Kyrie Irving and other giant babies who don’t care if you live or die, so long as they don’t have to get a shot, and lift the city’s vaccine mandate for athletes and performers.

The Mets outfielder wants to thank the mayor for “being able to bring something, I think, that’s really good and positive back to New York City, in the fact of baseball – Yankees and Mets.”

The Yankees and Mets were already back. They drew a combined 3,444,519 fans to their ballparks last year, when figures were held down by pandemic restrictions that already were lifted before Adams enacted the athlete/performer exception to the private employer rules.

This isn’t about the Yankees and Mets coming back. It’s about Nimmo, who declined to say whether he’s vaccinated — which means he’s unvaccinated — being able to play home games, along with other players on both New York teams who have not gotten their vaccinations. That list would seem to include fellow vaccine question evader (seriously, we’re not dumb, everyone who’s had the vaccine proudly says so, because we’re happy about protecting the people around us from a deadly virus) Aaron Judge, among others, and it’s an especially vital issue for the Yankees given the games they’ll have to play in Toronto.

Canada, unlike the city of New York, is not kowtowing to selfish interests at the drop of a seven-figure check. So unvaccinated players, especially in the American League East, aren’t in the clear here, and somehow, in baseball, the issue becomes a “competitive advantage for the Blue Jays.”

Except, the advantage for the Blue Jays in unvaccinated visiting players not being allowed in the country isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Toronto has had to build its roster knowing that unvaccinated players were basically unavailable to them. The Yankees knew that they were going to Toronto this year, and they still re-signed Anthony Rizzo, even at a time when Rizzo might not have been legally able to play any home games (although they likely had an inkling that Adams would open this loophole).

There’s also a bit of within-the-pandemic fairness in the Blue Jays getting some measure of advantage this year. Last season, because of COVID, the Blue Jays had to play home games in three different stadiums. They were 10-11 at their spring training park in Dunedin, 12-11 in Buffalo, and then 25-11 once they finally got home to Toronto. The Jays won 91 games and missed the playoffs by one game. Was that totally fair? Of course not, but that was what had to happen given the reality of the pandemic.

There are still 6,000 people a week dying from the novel coronavirus in the United States. The issue here isn’t Canada taking appropriate precautions, it’s the mayor of New York changing the rules to allow special privileges for the rich and famous – and if you’re an unvaccinated baseball player with a $7 million contract for this year, you’d be thanking him for his “leadership,” too.

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