PITTSBURGH – There has been no pitch or hit that hit home quite like the news that came to the Cubs this weekend off the field.
That’s when first base coach Craig Driver was diagnosed with COVID-19, becoming the first on the team to do so in the regular season since the pandemic began. Last season, the Cubs went through the entire shortened 2020 campaign and Wild Card Series without a positive test on the roster.
It was a jolt for David Ross and his team as they hit the road for their first trip of the 2021 regular season.
“I think there’s been a couple of eye-openers to start the season that I think around baseball should hit home and understand that this is still a very serious pandemic that we’re in,” said Ross on Saturday. “We have to continue to stay diligent in all that we do. We’re at the mercy of this thing a lot of the time.”
When this came up, so did another question that has been common for all clubs around Major League Baseball: How much is the team vaccinated?
So far they’ve yet to reach the 85 percent threshold which MLB requires for relaxed protocols for teams. Some of the members of the team have gotten their shot, including Javier Baez, who discussed why he did in a news conference during the first home stand.
It’s Ross hope that the team will continue to have more players vaccinated and get closer to 100 percent sooner than later.
“Really, the goal is 100 precent. Let’s be honest, right? The goal should be 100 percent. That’s what we’re shooting for,: said Ross. “Again, each person has their own views and things but we’re just continuing to try to educate and encourage them to vaccinated.”
David Bote says that discussions are happening in the clubhouse daily about the decision to get vaccinated or not. So far they’ve been healthy talks as the infielder has been encouraged with the dialogue among the players.
“Everyone has their own viewpoints on it,” said Bote. “The conversations I’ve had, everyone’s been super respectful with each other on both sides – if they wanna get it, if they don’t wanna get it, if they’re in a holding pattern or whatever. I think having those conversations is really good and really healthy.
“Being like ‘Hey, this is what I saw or this is what I heard.’ Having doctors that are here that can really help talk you through it. Guys who you trust, guys who helped me with my family. To have those people that I can talk to and be ‘Hey, let’s get everything else away, political, or anything else like that, and say, OK, what is it, what can it do, and then pros and cons, and then you have to make the best decision for you and your family.
“That’s what it comes down to and each person is going to be different, and everyone has that right to do so.”