The early portion of the 2022 New York Yankees season has been marked by close calls, many self-inflicted.
Their historic failures with RISP? You can pin that on relying on bounce backs throughout the lineup and creating black holes at the bottom of it, rather than proactively addressing the offense. Gerrit Cole’s struggles? On Tuesday, it was all control. Who’s responsible for that?
Of course, the vaccination availability question looms largest of all. The Yankees were bailed out of an Opening Day and 80 other home games without a few key starters when Eric Adams lifted the city’s private sector mandate (Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo had not been vaccinated in 2021, and were differing levels of evasive when pressed this year), but they wouldn’t be so lucky when the time came for their first Toronto road trip in early May.
The Canadian government has drawn a line in the sand regarding unvaccinated individuals participating in sporting events, leading to countless trades, tweaks and roster shuffles. Yankees president Randy Levine had no way of “Aw, shucks-ing” himself out of this one. When the Yanks press on towards Toronto, we’ll know for certain who is and who isn’t eligible, with zero wiggle room.
According to Aaron Boone and some intrepid reporting this week, though, that’ll no longer be a problem. All unvaccinated Yankees have reportedly received at least the one-shot J&J vaccination ahead of the deadline and will be eligible to participate in three crucial AL East road series.
So … are we telling the truth here, or did someone get a visit from Antonio Brown?
Yankees claim to be 100% vaccinated for Blue Jays series in Toronto
Did the Yankees really get out of their own way here? Hard to believe it until we see it — and again, there’ll be no more hiding in just a few weeks — but for now, it seems like the Yanks roster unified here around a common goal of being full-strength.
This lies in direct contrast to what emerged from Boston this week as well, a fate many Yankee fans assumed they were also headed for.
Prior to their first series in Toronto, Red Sox manager Alex Cora made it clear that, while progress had been made, several unvaccinated individuals would be missing the action. Starting pitcher Tanner Houck took it upon himself to put his hand up and admit he’d be missing a start, while saying out of the other side of his mouth, “Anything I can do for this team to help them win, I’ll do it.”
Well, anything but that.
How good is that “good spot” Boone referred to on Tuesday? Has Aaron Judge reversed course from his earlier noncommittal ramblings? Or is all of this just lip service the Canadian government plans to quash in just a few days?
For now, we’ve been told the Yankees have reached the threshold of total vaccination. We’ll see.