Derek Falvey, the Twins' president of baseball operations, said he won't pass judgment on his unvaccinated players.
Leave it to me, Derek.
After defeating the Royals 7-3 on Sunday, the Twins left for Detroit. From there, they'll travel to Toronto.
A handful of Twins won't be allowed to cross the Canadian border because they are unvaccinated, so the Twins will play that series shorthanded. They are about to play eight games in seven days on the road, with Royce Lewis and Sonny Gray coming off with injuries on Sunday.
The unvaccinated players are putting the health of their fellow teammates and Twins officials and support staff at risk. They are also damaging the Twins' ability to compete for a division title.
Those unvaccinated players will forgo pay and service time while on the COVID restricted list. The Twins will impose no further penalties on them, and manager Rocco Baldelli and Falvey both spoke diplomatically about them on Sunday.
Don't be fooled. Everyone invested in the Twins knows that these players are betraying their organization.
The Twins will be missing at least one frontline starting pitcher and one middle-of-the-order hitter in Toronto. It is believed that about five players will miss the trip — or about one-fifth of the roster.
You don't think vaccinations matter in pro sports?
Don't you remember the 2021 Twins?
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons refused to get vaccinated and contracted COVID. He was out from April 13 to April 26. The Twins went 2-10 with him out, and never recovered. The Twins displayed no interest in re-signing him.
Don't you remember what happened to the Vikings?
The Vikings entered the 2021 season knowing they needed to win for general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer to keep their jobs. Also, in the NFL, every game is precious, and the Vikings are paying a massive amount of money to their stars.
Their highest-paid and most-important player, Kirk Cousins, refused to get vaccinated. The front office and Zimmer were livid about his decision. He didn't budge.
He wound up testing positive for COVID and missing the game in Green Bay. The Vikings were thrashed. They finished 8-9. Spielman and Zimmer got fired. Cousins didn't care.
By "didn't care,'' I mean he didn't care enough to take the same basic step that every journalist covering pro sports has taken, that most of our society has taken, to stop the spread of a deadly disease.
The Twins have been a feel-good story this season. They are greatly overachieving compared to objective expectations. With excellent fielding and three uncommon athletes on the roster, in Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Lewis, they are frequently entertaining. Until Sunday, they were extremely likable.
By later this week, we'll officially know which of their players aren't so likable.
Falvey said that some of the unvaccinated players have apologized for causing problems, and have left open the possibility that they will revisit their stance if it looks like the Twins are headed for a playoff against Toronto.
That stance proves just how arbitrary their anti-vaxx stance is.
They are willing to get vaccinated for the playoffs, but not for the games that help a team qualify for the playoffs?
This team's success is fragile. No one can predict how many games Buxton will play, because of his sore knee, or how long his current slump will last. As of late Sunday afternoon, the Twins were waiting for news on Lewis' knee.
The pitching staff features very few sure-thing options. Joe Ryan is on the COVID list, robbing the Twins of one of their top two starters.
"I hate losing players off our team that are going to help us compete, right?" Falvey said. "That's something that is disappointing. I don't pass judgment on all of their decisions. I know we're here to kind of generally just support whatever decisions guys are going to make on that front."
Falvey and Baldelli have no choice but to grin and bear those decisions.
The rest of us should feel free to boo.