The Kansas City Royals are without 10 players in their four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays due to Canada’s laws around the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the Royals found a way to win the first game of the series on Thursday, much was made over some comments made by the players who would not be making the trip.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield caused quite a stir on Wednesday, saying that if he was on a team that was in playoff contention he might consider getting the vaccine.
“It’s what, based on the experiences and conversations and what I’ve seen, this is the conclusion I’ve come to,” Merrifield said on Wednesday. “Right or wrong. I didn’t do it on a whim. It’s been a long thought process because again, I understand what Canada has in place right now. That’s the only reason I would think about getting it at this point. To go to Canada.
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“That might change down the road. If something happens, and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes. But, as we sit here right now, I’m comfortable with my decision. My teammates support me and the rest of the guys in here who have made the same decision. And that’s that.”
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It did not sit well with fans of the club or with Royals president of baseball operations Dayton Moore, who addressed Merrifield’s comments on The Program radio show in Kansas City.
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“It’s very difficult at times to articulate feelings and emotions, and sometimes it just comes out wrong,” Moore said on Thursday. “When I first heard that, I was pretty disappointed and pretty disgusted, truthfully. But I also know that’s not who Whit is. And so as I began to communicate with Whit about that, he made it very clear that he was sorry for how that came out. And I have to accept that and move on.
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“And I’m not going to kick him when he’s down because I do know what Merrifield has meant to our team, the great work that he does in our community, and I think it was just a very poor choice of words.”
Merrifield is a two-time All-Star selection who is hitting .248 in 84 games during the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season.
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The Royals continue their series against the Blue Jays Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. Eastern.