When Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) ended their 99-day lockout last week, baseball fans everywhere celebrated, excited to once again watch their favorite players compete for 162 games.
But for fans of the New York Yankees and New York Mets, there’s a chance that some of their favorite MLB players won’t be available in their home market.
As we’ve recapped on multiple occasions, the New York City private sector COVID-19 mandate is still in place, even after the public sector mandate came to an end on March 7.
“Employers may not allow any unvaccinated employees to report to their physical workplace, unless they have requested and received an accommodation,” the guideline states.
Per The New York Times, this means that playing at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens will not be a possibility for unvaccinated members of the Yankees and the Mets.
On Tuesday, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was asked about his vaccination status, and he gave a telling answer.
“I’m still focused on getting to the first game of Spring Training,” Judge said at a press conference. “So, I think we’ll cross that bridge whenever the time comes, But right now, so many things could change. So, I’m not really too worried about that right now.”
— Randy Miller (@RandyJMiller) March 15, 2022
On Sunday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed that his roster contains a “few guys” who aren’t vaccinated, meaning those who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine also will not be allowed to travel to Toronto to play the Blue Jays. The Yankees have nine scheduled games in Toronto during the 2022-2023 season.
“It’ll be interesting, to say the least, how that situation unfolds,” Boone said according to the New York Post. “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,” he continued.
New York City’s private sector vaccine mandate has been in the spotlight over the past few days, as the hypocrisy of allowing unvaccinated fans into NBA arenas while not allowing Kyrie Irving to play in Brooklyn Nets home games has been front and center.
On Sunday, Irving attended Brooklyn’s game versus the New York Knicks at Barclays Center as a fan, as he was still unable to compete as a member of the Nets in the city of New York.
On Monday, the NBA announced that the Nets had been fined $50,000 for allowing Irving into the locker room during Sunday afternoon’s game.
“The Brooklyn Nets organization has been fined $50,000 for violating local New York City law and league health and safety protocols during the team’s March 13th game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center, the NBA announced today,” NBA communications said in a statement. “The violation occurred when the Nets permitted Kyrie Irving, who was in attendance at the game, to enter the team’s locker room.”
According to ESPN, the locker room is considered part of the “workplace environment,” thus subject to the local NYC private sector vaccine mandate.
The calls for NYC mayor Eric Adams to either end the private sector vaccine mandate or grant an exemption to Irving have continued to grow over the past several days. In February, Adams told CNBC that granting an exemption to Irving would “send the wrong message.”
“Listen, I want Kyrie on the court. I would do anything to get that ring,” Adams said. “So badly, I want it. But there’s so much at stake here. And I spoke with the owner of the team. We want to find a way to get Kyrie on the court, but this is a bigger issue. I can’t have my city closed down again. It would send the wrong message just to have an exception for one player when we’re telling countless number of New York City employees, ‘If you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be able to be employed.’”
Opening Day of MLB’s regular season is April 7, when both the Yankees and the Mets will kick off the year.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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