Phillies deal with more COVID issues
Skepticism around the COVID-19 vaccine is nothing new, but it is starting to have a real effect on professional sports teams and the leagues they play in. Players who refuse to get the vaccine have started to put their teams at a real disadvantage, as the curious case of the Philadelphia Phillies continues to prove.
Major League Baseball has loosened restrictions for teams that have been 85% vaccinated, but the Phillies are just one of seven teams who have not reached the threshold yet, and it remains to be seen if they will be able to hit it anytime soon. Players like Hector Neris have been outspoken about not wanting the vaccine from the start of the season and his thoughts on the matter didn’t change much when teammate Brandon Kintzler made comments back in June on his experience with the needle.
“I think it was kind of like, really after the vaccine, my body just shut down,” Kintzler said two weeks ago, via NBC Sports. “I was f—-d up for a while.
“I don’t know, it knocks you out really bad that night and then we had a game, I pitched two innings and my body was just…I think everyone should recover for a week from that thing. Archie (Bradley) strained his oblique after it, (Matt) Joyce had back problems. There’s gotta be some science behind it.”
The team suffered a serious blow this past weekend when they lost Aaron Nola, Bailey Falter, and Connor Brogdon to contact tracing on Sunday after Alec Bohm tested positive the prior afternoon.
Fully vaccinated players are not subject to the league’s contact tracing policy, so it is safe to assume that none of Nola, Falter or Brogdon have been vaccinated yet. Players will not be forced into taking the vaccination, but it can certainly be frustrating for fans of an organization.
While Phillies manager Joe Girardi has been vaccinated, he has come out on numerous occasions to state it is a personal choice and that nobody can be forced into taking anything that they do not want to.
“It is what it is,” Girardi said as the Phillies beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Sunday, via NBC Sports. “It’s not like we’re surprised that something can happen. We always try to stay prepared, the guys do the best they can to protect themselves. There are some strands that are extremely contagious.
“You’ve got to deal with it.”
Fortunately for the Phillies, the timing of the losses actually worked out well considering the All-Star break. However, it will be something that the club will have to deal with down the stretch as they look to conquer the National League East. They currently sit 3.5 games back of the New York Mets and will be eager to try and close the gap when the season resumes later in the week.
Supporters of the club can only hope more players will get vaccinated as COVID can continue to be an issue leading into the postseason.