KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After missing the trip to take on the Toronto Blue Jays across the northern border due to COVID-19 vaccine requirements, Kansas City Royals outfielder Whit Merrifield appeared on Cody & Gold on 610 Sports Radio to address his decision and comments from earlier this week.
Merrifield is one of 10 players placed on the COVID-restriction list for the series and immediately after the news broke, he said he may have gotten vaccinated if he were on a team headed to the postseason.
Backlash across sports media and online brought Merrifield to the point where he felt the need to clarify his comments.
“What really kept me up last night was people thinking I don’t love Kansas City and I haven’t really loved every minute that I’ve been in Kansas City. That I don’t love my teammates and I don’t want to fight for my teammates,” Merrifield told Cody & Gold. “I’ve been with this organization for 12 years. The front office has been the same my entire career, they’re like family to me. The community is greatly important to me, and for my words to reflect anything besides that is something that is not okay, and I really felt like I needed to clarify it.”
Merrifield said his decision to not get vaccinated for COVID-19 was a personal one, and his comments were based on the “business of baseball” as he has been involved in a few trade rumors.
“The vaccine thing has been a very fluid decision making for me. I’m not like a hardline no vaccine. I’ve always been one, and our trainers will attest to that, when they give me Advil and Tylenol for a bruise, I’ve always been one to resist it,” Merrifield said. “I don’t really enjoy putting foreign things in my body. It’s not something that I’ve ever done. I’ve been very fortunate that I can count on one hand how many times I can ever remember being sick.”
But he added that it was never a slight at his teammates and the current state of the team, who sit in last place in their division.
“What I was trying to say is if I had the opportunity to get to the postseason, that would be something that might sway my views on potentially getting that vaccine. I would love for it to be with the group of guys we have in this clubhouse, but I also understand the business of baseball. I understand that while I’d love to be a Royal my entire career, that might not happen.”
Merrifield joined the the active roster a in 2016, a year after the club won the 2015 World Series. Since then, the Royals have failed to make the postseason throughout his major league career.
The two-time MLB All-Star added that he has not seen the decision the 10 players made have an affect on the locker room.
The Royals will continue to play their road series against the Blue Jays without the ineligible players through Sunday, then enter the All-Star break.