Ten. Ten Kansas City Royals did their own research and, effectively, opted for their own selfishness over their team. Okay. That lede was a little harsh. Let’s try again.
Ten. Ten Kansas City Royals skipped out on their work trip to Toronto because of their “personal decisions” to not get the COVID-19 vaccination. A move that left the team scrambling to provide minor league call-ups. No. That still doesn’t feel quite right. Let me try one more time.
The Kansas City Royals further embarrassed themselves as an organization as they fumbled through a trip to Toronto. Canada bans anyone unvaccinated for COVID-19 and the Royals had 10 active players plus three members of their coaching staff unable to meet the requirements – requirements that have been put in place for over a year.
I’ve probably written the lede a dozen times and it still doesn’t convey just what a flustercluck this has been for the Royals as an organization. I’ve been very vocal on Twitter (@thefakened if you’re a glutton for punishment) about Whit Merrifield’s role in all of this, so I won’t rehash it here only to say that when Whit retires from baseball, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him join Fox News as a correspondent. But I digress. The blame is on the organization.
As a country, we have been bombarded with polar opposite information for nearly three years now about COVID-19. This, in addition to the polar opposite information we’re bombarded with about crime, the economy, climate change, gas prices, social media, politics, and whether that dress is black and blue or white and gold. We don’t know what to believe anymore. The Royals could’ve made this a much smaller problem than leaving ten players behind while they scrambled to find minor leaguers to fill their spots.
The solution could’ve been made in a single sentence, “Get vaccinated or get out.” While the players’ association is collectively bargained, as an organization, if the Royals felt this was important enough to do, they would’ve done it. Thirteen teams as of late 2021 were fully vaccinated – including the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox – two teams that vie heavily as trade prospects for two of the unvaccinated, Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benentindi. So a mandate can be made. Forget your own personal research. Forget your consultation with Joe Rogan. Forget your own political leanings messing with your brain. Get vaccinated.
The Kansas City Royals have a long history of service to their community. They have relationships with the ALS Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Special Olympics. They pay tribute to a former Kauffman Stadium and KCPD police officer Sarah Nauser who is now in the late stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was at the stadium being celebrated just a month ago. They hold a giant party every year for Children’s Mercy Hospital along with KC-based celebrities which was held just two weeks ago. As a workplace, by being unvaccinated, you increase risk of spreading disease. This cannot be disputed.
But that didn’t happen. The Royals felt letting the players make their own personal choices was more important than protecting their workplace and improving their performance on the field. It was a dumb mistake and now “the ten” Royals are the laughing stock of baseball and the country.
Over the Fourth of July weekend every year, you see clips of the great Lou Gehrig, riddled with disease, his body breaking down by the day, tell a full stadium that he “considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Whit Merrifield and “the ten” should stand in front of a 25% full Kauffman Stadium and explain why they felt they could consider themselves the most selfish men on the face of the earth.
(Get more on this topic from Chris Kamler on Twitter, where you’ll find him as @TheFakeNed)