Some entities are doing their darndest to save face amid their ridiculous coronavirus restrictions, including maintaining draconian vaxx mandates that do nothing to prevent the acquisition and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants and sub-variants.
New York Yankee great and baseball announcer Paul O’Neill has not escaped the restrictions imposed by his employer and Yankee broadcast group YES, and has had to announce ballgames from his house in Cincinnati rather than in the broadcast booth because the YES network has a workplace vaccine mandate, and O’Neill has not received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports. He is is the only announcer reporting from home, as the others are firmly ensconced in the booth, creating a bit of an awkward situation.
As the New York Post reports, in addition to YES’ mandates, MLB also has its own protocols which dissuade unvaccinated people from being on the field by disallowing contact with any players and also prohibit anyone not vaccinated from entering dugouts and clubhouses.
But O’Neill is apparently willing to work with these restrictions and has been praised for his on-air work in less than ideal surroundings.
How Yankees and YES will try to salvage the awkwardness of Paul O'Neill Day https://t.co/H0yZxJyH2f via @nypost old timer day festivities r outdoors, so no masks 😷 and no social distancing needed! Most ppl have been exposed to Covid and have natural immunity!
— Richard Kimble 45 (@Richardkimble45) August 12, 2022
However, what is O’Neill to do on his upcoming day, Paul O’Neill Day, at Yankee Stadium, where fans will see his number 21 retired, the team praises the ex-ballplayer for his nine seasons, his .300-hitting average, four World Series wearing pinstripes, but no current Yankee will be with him on the field due to the mandates?
As with his broadcasting job, he’s willing to work with it, but the Yankees won’t buck the system and ignore the rules, and MLB is not stepping in to accommodate the special occasion.
The Yankee organization announced in a statement to The New York Post that:
“Paul O’Neill Day will feature all of the traditional elements that fans have enjoyed during previous number retirement ceremonies, including the introduction of special guests on the Yankee Stadium infield, a montage on the center-field video board and the unveiling of the retired No. 21 medallion in Monument Park. O’Neill and his family will then join the special guests in the infield, where he will receive a presentation of gifts, deliver a speech from a podium in front of the pitcher’s mound and throw out a ceremonial pitch to a catcher at home plate.”
This is not the first awkward moment the Yankees have had over the league’s vaxx mandates.
Just last month the Bronx Bombers resumed its annual Old-Timers’ Day and Game, which had been suspended the previous two years over the coronavirus pandemic. However, it was all “day” and no “game” as it was reported that a number of former Yankee participants in the Day were not vaccinated, leading the team to cancel the game portion of the festivities as they didn’t want vaxxed and unvaxxed to mingle. Many of those who weren’t there included the superstars, which turned off fans who decided to show up in low numbers to watch the ceremony.
John Filippelli, President of Programming and Production for YES, expects O’Neill to return to the booth someday. As for Paul O’Neill Day, it remains to be seen whether other Yankee legends such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will join Mr. O’Neill on his special day and whether fans will get a real chance to interact with one of their heroes.