Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo told local radio station WMVP 1000-AM on Friday that he has decided against getting the COVID-19 vaccination.
Rizzo revealed his reluctance to get the vaccine on the same day Wrigley Field returned to full capacity for Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I have decided not to get the vaccine and there is just a lot that went into it, talking to all of our doctors, and it was a really hard decision on all ends,” Rizzo said on the Kap & J. Hood show. “It’s just one of those things where, continue to be safe and continue to go on and live life.”
Rizzo, 31, who overcame a bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008, is one of the players who have prevented the Cubs from reaching MLB’s requested 85-percent vaccination threshold required of each team to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.
In May, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer expressed frustration that the Cubs were falling short of the MLB threshold.
“There is a competitive advantage we’re going to miss,” Hoyer said at the time. “Bring transparent about it, we’re not a player away from being at 85 percent. It’s a disappointing thing that we’ll have anxieties and restrictions that others don’t.”
Cubs manager David Ross was understanding toward Rizzo’s decision.
“That doesn’t change my outlook on Rizz,” Ross said. “I still respect him a whole lot. It’s his decision. He’s one of my best friends. He’s a big piece of our team. … We move forward and respect that and do our best trying to follow the protocols and keep the virus outside our locker room.”
After expressing his previous disappointment, Hoyer said Friday he hopes Cubs fans won’t react to Rizzo too harshly.
“(Players) built up incredible equity in the community … and are making a personal choice they’re probably not going to choose to articulate to the fans,” Hoyer said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It would be a shame if fans decided to take all that equity and get rid of it.”
While deciding against a vaccination, for now anyway, Rizzo said he will take extra safety precautions moving forward.
“It’s not like you’re going to see me rolling out into the bars and putting myself in bad situations,” Rizzo said. “We all know what’s at stake and we just have to continue to be smart and continue to get data on everything that keeps coming out. Just continue to keep being educated on it.”
The Cubs entered Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals with a 35-27 record and were tied for first in the National League Central with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rizzo was batting .263 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 55 games and is a career .270 hitter over 11 major league seasons with 235 home runs and 779 RBIs. He has played all but 49 major league games with the Cubs, starting his big league career with the San Diego Padres in 2011.
–Field Level Media
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