It’s almost impossible to believe that fate has found a new way to derail the Yankees‘ pursuit of a championship, but the sequel to “Coronavirus Ruins Gerrit Cole’s First Season” and “Cloud of Bugs Ends 2007 Title Run” seems just as unpleasant.
As we expected, a City Hall spokesperson has equated the Yankees and Mets with the Brooklyn Nets, placing the city’s baseball teams under the private sector mandate that currently prevents Kyrie Irving from playing home games while allowing him to participate on the road.
As silly as that all sounds, the encouragement of vaccination is for the public good, and any personal choice made to forego it could now cost any Yankee or Met 81 games off their schedule.
Cases are also on the rise in New York after Mayor Eric Adams eased restrictions for fans and the general public, so don’t expect this mandate to be lifted any time soon.
Although … based on his answer to a similar line of questioning on Tuesday, it seems Aaron Judge is banking on a reversal before Opening Day — from the city, not from himself.
Long rumored to be unvaccinated based on the protocols that kept him off the field in 2020, Judge was hesitant to correct the narrative at Tuesday’s presser.
Yankees … might have to trade Aaron Judge if he’s not vaccinated?
I mean … I mean …you can’t have Aaron Judge missing 90 games (all Yankees home games, plus trips to Toronto) just because he’s made a personal choice. If he’s going to opt into being absent, the Yankees’ hand might be forced ahead of free agency, whether Judge “wants to” finish his career in pinstripes or not.
Theoretically, Judge is entering a contract year, but the Yankees can choose to make that not the case if he refuses vaccination. The team is in control of whether or not it doles out service time to those who end up on the restricted list for this very specific reason.
Judge’s answer on Tuesday seemed to leave the door open to correcting the issue, but gave absolutely no one confidence that the issue had already been corrected.
Add in Jon Heyman’s reporting that three Yankees “regulars” remain unvaccinated, and things look a lot less encouraging than they have since the lockout’s enthusiasm-building ending.
Perhaps this alters the team’s pursuit of Anthony Rizzo as well? Perhaps this has the team regretting shipping out now-necessary depth in Gio Urshela, too. Every day, another hurdle — this one self-inflicted, as silly as you may think this rule remains.