Summer Camp and Unvaccinated Baseball Players

Coronavirus mandated vaccinations have been ordered in New York City and in the state of California. The federal Department of Veterans Affairs will require COVID-19 shots for their frontline health workers. Dozens of medical organizations this week issued a call for mandatory vaccinations in the health sector. Action is being taken in response to a dramatic rise of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last month.

This story is in response to a news article written July 15 by Jon Harris and Tom Housenick of The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, titled, “MLB says too many IronPigs haven’t been vaccinated, so now a youth baseball camp has been canceled.” The Lehigh Valley IronPigs is a minor league AAA team, affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The news article reported that a summer youth baseball camp, scheduled for July 20-22, was cancelled and parents notified because the Lehigh Valley IronPigs did not reach a required 85% team vaccination rate, as required by Major League Baseball. As a result, children missed a camp because baseball players did not get a couple shots in the arm.

A couple quotes are worth examining. One is by Mike Ventola, the IronPigs media relations manager. “We’re disappointed but that’s out of our control,” Ventola said. “Major League Baseball, they have certain mandates we have to oblige by. It’s out of our hands.”, according to the July 15th Morning Call story.

Phillies ace pitcher Aaron Nola, who remains unvaccinated, was recently asked by NBC Sports Philadelphia report Jim Salisbury what his plans were. Nola replied, “It’s a personal choice. Not right now. I’ll keep it at that.”

One hundred million Americans remain unvaccinated. The question to IronPigs players, to the Philadelphia Phillies, to the other major and minor league players, if not now, when? “A personal choice”, “out of our control”. Really?

By last report, as of June 25, seven major league teams – including the Phillies – had not yet reached the MLB mandated 85% vaccine threshold. An email request made to Major League Baseball on the current status of these teams went unanswered. Mike Ventola, in a phone call yesterday, reported the summer camps scheduled for August 3-5 and August 24-26 have also been cancelled and parents notified by mail. Sorry kids.