Vaccinations were the news of the night, as they tend to be these days. But at least it was news on the side of people being rational about it to the people being irrational morons. That was something of a gear change from most of the time.
The major story buzzing yesterday evening was a report by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post that MLB Network had basically told John Smoltz and Al Leiter that they can not appear in-studio any longer for not adhering to the network’s recent vaccine mandate. Sadly, they’ll still be contributing from their respective fortresses of idiocy instead of being eliminated from our TVs altogether. We were that much closer to being rid of Smoltz altogether. Still, it’ll make for interesting viewing come fall as this gains more and more notoriety when Smoltz shows up as Fox’s No. 1 analyst for the playoffs — as according to the report, Smotz will be on-site to call a Division Series game. Of course, this being Fox we know they won’t care. But Smoltz has clearly been outed as someone who couldn’t give a flying fuck about the well-being of the co-workers around him, and a penny for Joe Buck’s thoughts when he has to stand and sit next to him for hours on end come October.
This story continued the theme of the day, when Urban Meyer surprisingly admitted to the press that vaccination status of fringe players did make a difference in whom the Jaguars decided to cut and whom they didn’t. And why shouldn’t it? Having more unvaccinated players would make everyone’s life harder, as well as make teammates and staff that much more uncomfortable and at risk, and possibly cause them to have to at some point be quarantined. Now maybe you put up with all of that for a starter, because at the end of the day the job is still defined, and judged, by winning. But by some guy whose only impact is going to be on special teams? You can find those players when you need them, which makes them not worth making everyone’s life a hassle over. I’m not going to pretend that Meyer was doing this for altruistic reasons, more than simply thinking he’s gaining an advantage toward winning a football game or two, but at this point I’m not all that concerned with motives as long as this is the result. The NFL handing out forfeits for teams with outbreaks among unvaccinated players certainly played a role in this.
This is still the dumbest debate of my lifetime, and I certainly recognize the enormity of that statement. But it’s a positive to see more stories about organizations and teams saying that this matters, and that they’re going to take the option of keeping the majority safer than caving in to the petulant wishes of madmen. It’s not as if Smoltz and Leiter are unfamiliar with the medical system, given their former professions, and certainly listened to doctors and trainers after each had Tommy John surgery. Not doing so now doesn’t make them high-minded or guarding freedom. It just makes them assholes.
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The amount of wiggle room dummards like Smoltz and Letier get today should be closing a lot faster than it is, but at least it’s closing. It’s also a reminder that a majority of us are on the right side of this, as we are for a lot of things, it’s just that the minority yells so goddamn loud that it skews perception. Take our victories where we can.
On to the playing surfaces, and the Women’s Hockey World Championships finally took place after a couple of cancellations in both the previous springs. And it came to a conclusion last night as it always does, with a gold-medal game between the U.S. and Canada. And as always, it was a dramatic and frantic encounter that went to overtime, which is another thing these teams can’t seem to help doing when gold is on the line.
Any hockey fan has dreamt of winning a playoff or medal game in overtime, and in our minds it was always burying a shot top cheese that rings both the post and crossbar loudly. Well, Marie-Philip Poulin of Canada got to live out that dream for real: