The days of cardboard cutouts are gone. The same goes for all the pumped-in stadium noise. Players don’t need to wear face masks in their dugouts and clubhouses. There’s also far less spitting into testing cups.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions in Canada, New York and elsewhere, there is one thing that has been clear as baseball accelerates towards the 2022 season.
Zack Britton, Yankees relief pitcher, stated Wednesday that “Life isn’t back to normal yet.”
Mets fans were shocked Tuesday when New York City confirmed that the same mandate for private employers to administer vaccines that was used to sideline Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn’s NBA games would be applied at Queens and Bronx outdoor baseball parks.
After Yankees star Aaron Judge refused to answer ‘s question Tuesday, the concern escalated to a new level.
Also, the Mets could be affected. They were one of six teams last year that failed to reach the 85% required vaccination rate for on-field personnel, players included, under Major League Baseball’s safety and health plan.
Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees chairman, stated Wednesday that Randy Levine, team president and chief executive officer of the Yankees is in contact with the city to discuss a solution prior to opening day April 7.
Eric Adams, New York City’s Mayor, stated Wednesday at a press conference that athletes are not his primary concern. However, he said that he would continue to work with MLB.
“We are going to do an assessment. Baseball season isn’t tomorrow. It is not next week. We will work it out. He said that we will ensure New Yorkers safety without continuing the spread COVID.”
Britton is a member the executive subcommittee of the players’ associations. He said Wednesday that the union was in communication with the government and had anticipated possible complications.
Britton said that they knew because of the Irving stuff. “I believe the indoor-outdoor venue was a little question mark. It was something we knew we had to address before the season began.
Max Scherzer, a first-year Mets ace who is also a member of the subcommittee, stated to reporters that logic wins.
In a new labor agreement, the union and league agreed that players who aren’t vaccinated won’t be paid or given service time if they’re unable to attend games against the Blue Jays in Toronto. This is due to Canada’s mandatory vaccine requirements for entry. There has been speculation that the Jays might have an unusual homefield advantage due to border issues.
After several players, including Christian Arroyo and Xander Bogaerts, were vaccinated in the offseason, the Boston Red Sox are now better prepared. Last year, the club was unable to attain 85% vaccination and was severely affected by the virus in the final stages of the season.
Chris Sale , Ace left-hander stated Wednesday that he chose to stay unvaccinated but will miss Boston’s first trip to Toronto on April 25-28 due to a stress fracture in the rib cage.
The sport will make significant progress towards normalcy in many other areas.
Updated safety and health protocols were announced Wednesday. Intake COVID-19 testing will still be available, but players will not be tested if they show signs or report symptoms. If required by local regulations, players and team personnel can wear masks indoors.
Daulton Jeffries, Oakland Athletics pitcher, said that it helps guys’ mentality all year. He added that they can visit family and have the opportunity to spend time with them. “Just to give them some relief from the grind of baseball.”
The league also has the ability to move games in the event of a public health emergency. It will not “postpone” games if it is necessary to ensure the safety and health of umpires, club personnel and players. Players with positive COVID-19 tests can still leave with two negative results.
Aaron Boone, Yankees manager, said that it was good for things to feel normal. It definitely feels that way.
HIGHLY FLYING BIRDS
The Blue Jays have added a star-studded third baseman, Matt Chapman to their infield. He was acquired from the Oakland Athletics, who were cutting their payroll.
Chapman, a five-year veteran, hit.201 with 27 homers and 72 RBIs in the Athletics’ 151-game season. In 2019, he was the first All-Star.
The A’s have also traded All-Star righty Chris Bassitt, who was from Oakland, to the New York Mets, and Matt Olson, first baseman to Atlanta since the end of the lockout. These three trades reduced Oakland’s projected payroll to $30 million.
Oakland was awarded right-hander Gunnar Hoglund. Toronto’s top pick for the 2021 amateur draft was Zach Logue, lefty pitcher Kirby Snead and Kevin Smith.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Kyle Schwarber signed a four-year agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies that was worth approximately $80 million. Because the agreement was subject of a successful physical, the person spoke under condition of anonymity.
Schwarber, a 29-year-old outfielder who is a slugging outfielder. He split his last season with Boston and Washington. He hit.266 and had 32 home runs. Schwarber also scored a grand slam in the AL Championship Series for the Red Sox.
Schwarber was also able to play first base for Boston, but he is most likely to be used as a designated hitter by the Phillies when the NL adopts DH.
FROM THE FAR EAST TO THE NORTH SIDE
A person familiar with the matter said that the Chicago Cubs and Seiya Suzumoto , a star Japanese outfielder, have reached an agreement to a five-year, $85 million deal. The deal was subject to a physical.
The Cubs have reached an agreement to accelerate the rebuilding process following the dissolution of their 2016 championship core.
Suzuki, 27, was a five-time All-Star pitcher and Gold Glove recipient over nine seasons in Japan’s Central League. In 132 games, he batted.317 and hit 38 home runs. He also had 88 RBIs and nearly as many walks (87), as he did strikeouts (88). Hiroshima’s career.315 hitter has 182 homers, and 562 RBIs.
Chicago will also pay $14,625,000 for a posting fee to Carp.