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St. Louis Cardinals stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will not travel with the team to Toronto this week for a series against the Blue Jays as unvaccinated players, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Canada requires that all visitors to the country be vaccinated against COVID-19.
A number of teams have joined the Cardinals in leaving players behind for a road trip to Toronto. The Kansas City Royals had a whopping 10 unvaccinated players who couldn’t face the Blue Jays, while four teams—the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Minnesota Twins—had to leave behind four players.
“When it came time to decide whether I needed the vaccine or not, talked with a couple doctors I knew, told them my story, and really decided I didn’t need it,” Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto told reporters on July 12 about his unvaccinated status. “I wasn’t going to take it basically because I was told to. I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do and don’t put in my body for a little bit of money. It’s just not worth it.”
That little bit of money was actually $260,000 of Realmuto’s $24 million salary that he was docked for missing the Toronto series. He later told reporters he regretted his choice of words.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, will be without their two best players for games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Goldschmidt, 34, is hitting .333 with 22 homers, 74 RBI and a 1.019 OPS this season. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate.
The 31-year-old Arenado has been nearly as terrifying for opposing pitchers, hitting .299 with 18 homers, 59 RBI and a .897 OPS.
For a Cardinals team battling for a postseason berth—they currently sit 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and just one game ahead of the Phillies for the final Wild Card berth—every game is important. Being without their two best players, who chose to remain unvaccinated, is a major blow.