blue jays unvaccinated

The Blue Jays are coming back but unvaxxed players won't be welcome in Toronto

Blue Jays fans are rejoicing at the news that the 2021–22 Major League Baseball lockout is coming to an end, and there will in fact be baseball this spring. But even as some federal and provincial public health mandates are lifted, unvaccinated ball players will not be appearing at the Rogers Centre any time soon.

Sportsnet reported this week that MLB players who haven't received COVID-19 vaccinations will not be playing in Toronto, due to the ongoing federal law prohibiting entry for unvaccinated persons, including players of local and visiting sports teams.

According to reports, players who have yet to be inoculated will instead be forced onto a restricted list, similar to teams' disabled lists or injured reserve lists, the main difference being these restricted players won't make a cent for games they miss.

But it isn't just visiting teams who could be shorthanded, as there are unconfirmed claims that not all of the Blue Jays players are vaccinated. The team is reportedly pursuing "modified quarantine rules" for unvaccinated players, possibly including members of the Jays.

A few on Twitter have commented that this could come back and slap the Jays in the face, speculating that one of the team's stars might not be vaccinated. Though some aren't buying that narrative.

These restrictions could pose a problem for AL East division rivals like the Red Sox when regular season play begins in April, that team's ace Chris Sale admitting in September that he hadn't at that time received any vaccine doses.

It's been an issue in other sports, most notably with Kyrie Irving of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, who has appeared in just 18 of the team's 67 games as of Mar. 11 due to his unvaxxed status.

The mere mention of pandemic-related restrictions is always enough to draw the ire of the "freedom" crowd, though there were a few attempts to explain the situation to riled-up Americans.

The current stadium policy reads, "As the public health situation evolves, Rogers Centre is following the latest health and safety guidelines from the Province of Ontario."

This essentially means that players and fans won't be held to the same standards. Vaccine passports expired at the start of March, opening up sporting events to masses of unvaxxed fans, while unvaxxed players and fans are still restricted from entering the country.

Regardless of restrictions, most fans are just happy for a full season of baseball in Toronto for the first time since 2019, after seeing the Jays split time in Florida and Buffalo before returning to Canada last summer.

Lead photo by

Connor Scott

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