Cincinnati – The fact that his two best players, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, won’t be available for him in Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday doesn’t bother Cardinals coach Oliver Marmol at all. At least that’s what he was saying on Sunday when it was announced that his two stars had chosen not to be vaccinated against COVID and therefore ineligible to travel to Canada for the two-match series.
Marmol, who will also not have reserve keeper Austin Romijn for the same reason – players will not be paid while they are on the restricted list – said he “totally” respects the players’ decision not to vaccinate them.
“I’ve spoken to all of the team and I respect that and agree with their decision,” Marmol said. I don’t have any problems with her.”
“Obviously, it’s not an easy decision,” said Goldschmidt, who made twice and hit all of the Cardinals’ runs in their 6-3 loss on Sunday to Cincinnati.
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“Over the past year and on, I’ve tried to talk to as many doctors and as many medical professionals as I can and find out as much as I can. I’ve just decided that the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. It stinks that I can’t play in Toronto. I hate that part of it.”
It is a very personal medical decision. Unfortunately, it is published with this. You have to put your health above everything. For me, it was the best decision for my health, and unfortunately, I have to suffer these consequences.”
Marmol said he did not believe Goldschmidt and Arenado’s decision would make him ill at the club.
He said: “Look at it another way – the ability of that club to respect the decision of the two men who led this team all year. We’re talking about a personal decision to put something in your body that you don’t agree with.”
Goldschmidt said, “I know there can be reactions from both sides and that is a result of the decision. I just have to do what I feel is best and live with the consequences.”
Across the club, Arenado said, “I feel healthy. I don’t feel like I need to get it. I’m very safe. I don’t really go out around people. But those are the rules of Canada. I can’t go.”
I’m not trying to make a political stand here or be a spokesperson or those things. I choose to do what is best for me and my family. I do not mean to offend. But it’s a decision I’ve made that I’m absolutely confident of.”
Assistant batting coach Turner Ward also hasn’t been to Toronto, and it appears he has a medical problem where he can’t be vaccinated.
“It’s a personal decision. The positive thing here is that it’s only two games. With that in mind, life will find a way to go on,” said Cardinals’ head of baseball operations, John Muziliak, who announced the players would not be going to Canada via Zoom.
“I don’t think it is in anyone’s interest to try to make a judgment (or) to try to make this more of what it is.”
Mozlyak said the Cardinals had hoped that politics in Canada would change, but it hasn’t. “(Goldschmidt and Arenado) are not available,” he said.
But Mozeliak said he hoped the Goldschmidt/Arenado decision would not “break” the club. “We all have strong opinions about what we think the correct answer should be,” Mozlyak said.
“I think we all understand that it’s hard to get people to do something they’re not comfortable doing. It’s not that we’re not trying to promote vaccination, but it’s again up to people’s decision. We kind of talked about it but it wasn’t something (where) I thought that anybody He’ll change his mind.”
Marmol said he is sure the club will not break. “I’m 100 percent sure she won’t,” Marmol said.
Mozeliak said, “(Goldschmidt and Arenado) still have a lot of political capital at the club and they are still respected.”
Pitcher Miles Mikolas, who has only been vaccinated after several others, said he wishes he hadn’t been vaccinated.
“A lot of things to come (the vaccine) aren’t great,” he said. “I’m healthy. I don’t think it was 100% necessary.
“When I got it at the time, it seemed like a good idea. But looking at that, it’s one of those things I’d probably prefer not to have.”
Micholas, who has four children aged five or younger, said he got it for them.
With the Cardinals embroiled in a division race, first, and then a potential quest for a wild card spot, one or two matches at less than full strength could be critical.
“I know it’s only two games, but we play two important games,” said Arenado. “It hurts. I’m not happy about it. It just stinks.
“I was really excited to go to Toronto because Toronto is a great place. I was hoping they would get rid of this ban,” said Arenaado.
Arenado sat in a game at the end of the first half and did not play in the All-Star Game due to lower back pain and is not fond of the Toronto stadiums.
“If there’s something positive about this, it’s not playing on that. That’s obviously not the reason I didn’t go,” he said.
“You obviously want your best players in every game,” Marmol said, referring to the loss of several other key players for different periods of time this season. “But I have a very strong opinion – I will remain very moderate here – that I don’t see this at all as an issue. I respect their decision not to be in Toronto.”
Goldschmidt and Arenado flew back to St. Louis on Sunday night and will be working at Busch Stadium. Arenado said he would not watch the matches on television. “It makes me a little nervous,” he said.
“They just aren’t in the lineup,” Marmol said. “I don’t mind it. We’ll find a way to win without them in these two days.
“But, obviously, it has to be the topic of conversation today. You are talking about two people who absolutely make up the culture every day at that club.”
If Goldschmidt and Arenado hadn’t been on this team at all, there wouldn’t have been much need for Sunday’s cross-examination. The Cardinals wouldn’t be rivals anyway.
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