More than $250,000 will be taken away from J.T. Realmuto's pay. His team, the Philadelphia Phillies, is only ahead by one percentage point for the last National League playoff spot, and a hard-fought battle is coming up in the next few months. Realmuto and three other players will miss two games against a strong opponent, the Toronto Blue Jays.
But the Canadian government won't take away the Phillies catcher's right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.
Realmuto's stubbornness once led him to catch an amazing 82 percent of his team's games in 2019. However, he will miss Tuesday and Wednesday's games against the Jays because he won't get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Realmuto, third baseman Alec Bohm, and starting pitchers Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson will be on the restricted list before the team travels to play the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are fully vaccinated because the Canadian government requires it for people leaving and coming back into the country.
For major-league players on US-based teams who don't want to get a vaccination, it's been a cost-benefit analysis: Get the vaccine or miss out on a lot of money.
In Realmuto's case, the effects are both personal and widespread. Because he missed two games, he will lose about $260,000 of his $24 million salary this season. The Phillies are half a game ahead against the St. Louis Cardinals for the third and final NL wild-card spot.
The second half of the season should be a shootout between six teams for three spots, and they already don't have the reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper in their lineup.
According to USA Today, Realmuto told reporters that when it came time to decide if he needed the vaccine or not, he talked to a couple of doctors he knew, told them his story, and decided he didn't need it. “I wasn’t going to take it basically because I was told to," he said.
“I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do and don’t put in my body for a little bit of money. It’s just not worth it."
Even though the coronavirus shut down the industry and forced teams to play a shorter, riskier 60-game season in 2020, the Phillies' fight with it has continued, partly because some people don't want to get the vaccine. The Philadelphia Inquirer said that in 2021, more than half of the club would not have been vaccinated.
Manager Joe Girardi said Sunday that Bohm left Saturday's game because of Covid-19 protocols and has tested positive for the virus. By rule, Bohm will have to miss at least 10 days after getting a positive result.
As of Saturday night, Girardi told reporters that Bohm had no symptoms. Close contacts like Aaron Nola, Connor Brogdon, and Bailey Falter were put on the list.
Realmuto and a slew of other Phillies players, including the four who aren't going on this trip, the others who were dealt with before they became a problem, are probably pulling for a few different results now.
USA Today also reported that should the Phillies drop one or two more games, their fans might be forced to ponder "what-if" scenarios if the team just misses out on a playoff spot.
Any National League player who chooses not to be vaccinated should hope that the Blue Jays will not make it to the World Series. This would make vaccination a choice that would affect a chance that only occurs once in a lifetime.
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