Baseball

The Red Sox COVID Crisis

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Now that everything seems to have settled a bit, it is time to deep dive into just what occurred with Major League Baseball’s largest COVID outbreak. The Red Sox did not have the only COVID outbreak during the 2021 season, teams like the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies also had players test positive. The difference between what occurred with the Red Sox was for starters that the Red Sox still have not reached the 85% threshold for vaccination, and were walloped with the most amount of positive cases.

MLB released health and safety protocols for the 2021 season, and in said document, the following was stated, “face coverings must be properly worn at all times when in Club facilities and in the dugout, other than for players on the field during a game or during pre-game warmups.” If you take a look around the Red Sox dugout, this rule is seemingly not enforced. There have been times throughout the season when players like Nate Eovaldi and manager Alex Cora have been seen wearing masks. There have also been times where Chris Sale, who came out and stated he is not vaccinated, has been seen not wearing a mask while in the dugout, on days he is not pitching. The fault of this honestly falls solely on Alex Cora. The manager should be enforcing the mask mandate.

This article is not being written to shame anyone into getting vaccinated. It is not being written to shame the Red Sox for not reaching the 85% threshold, it is not being written to shame the players in Major League Baseball that flat out refuse to be vaccinated. This article will however discuss the importance of being vaccinated, the science behind it, and why more vaccinated people, equates to less of a spread of infection.

Christian Vazquez, Matt Barnes, Nate Eovaldi, and Hirokazu Sawamura are vaccinated, and they decided to use the Red Sox Twitter as a platform to show the safety of vaccination. Enrique Hernandez, who was player number one to test positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of the outbreak confirmed he was vaccinated, and that his case was a breakthrough. Pitchers Nick Pivetta and Garrett Whitlock are also confirmed vaccinated, having gone briefly on the COVID-IL with side effects related to getting vaccinated. Only seven Red Sox players, of an active 26-man roster, are confirmed vaccinated. Only one player, Chris Sale has come out publically and state that he is not vaccinated. The rest of the players are all simply speculation. It is wrong to speculate either way. The Red Sox replaced first base coach Tom Goodwin with quality control coach Ramón Vázquez on Tuesday night. MLB has implemented a new rule that for the postseason all coaches or staff members not vaccinated will not be permitted on field. Goodwin, not vaccinated, was replaced with the hopes that the Red Sox will make the postseason.

The 2021 Red Sox, due to COVID related ailments, or being considered a close contact, spent time without Kiké Hernández, Xander Bogaerts, Chris Sale, Matt Barnes, Christian Arroyo, Martín Pérez, Josh Taylor, Hirokazu Sawamura, Nick Pivetta and Jarren Duran, Jonathan Araúz, Yairo Munoz, Danny Santana, and Phillips Valdez. The outbreak was fast-spreading, but thankfully no player was faced with a difficult illness as a result of COVID. COVID does not care how old you are, or how healthy, unfortunate situations can happen, I mean, just ask Red Sox starter, Eduardo Rodriguez. Eduardo Rodriguez suffered from myocarditis as a result of COVID and missed the whole of the 2020 season.

The Moderna vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1%, no, not 100%, but neither is a flu shot. The vaccine provides protection, it provides, when more are vaccinated a way for the virus to have a more difficult time spreading. Vaccination helps with the stopping of the spread, this is a scientific fact. The whole world will never be forced into vaccination, and neither will Major League players, the union will see to that, but for the players not vaccinated, it not only puts their own health at risk, and the health of teammates, it also puts the team at risk. Chris Sale, mentioned above as not vaccinated puts his team at risk, as if deemed a close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID, he has to be put into mandatory quarantine, whether or not he himself tests positive. A vaccinated player does not have to be placed in mandatory quarantine if he tests negative. It is simple by not being vaccinated, the Red Sox could lose Chris Sale, at a time where they are making a playoff push.

This article is not here to shame or sway anyone’s feelings about vaccination, it is just here to discuss the outbreak. The article is here to show how not meeting the 85% threshold put the Red Sox in a precarious situation, and how they are still in said situation, right in the middle of a chase to get a wild card. The Red Sox persevered through the outbreak, thanks in part to trade deadline players Kyle Schwarber, Hansel Robles, Austin Davis, and late season acquisitions José Iglesias, and Travis Shaw. The Red Sox hold a half-game lead over the Seattle Mariners entering into tonight’s play, with four games left. The final four are must-win and will be quite the grind. Hold on tight Red Sox fans, it is going to be a wild(card) ride.

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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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