Owners and management are exasperated as the team approaches the trade deadline with the playoffs within reach — and a COVID shutdown hovering over their season like the sword of Damocles.
The Phillies' anti-vaccine issue is much more than a personal choice. It's a cultural phenomenon that starts at the very top, and doesn't end with No. 1 pitcher Aaron Nola. Two sources connected to Phillies ownership and management have said in the past weeks that about half of the 26 players on the current roster have refused the vaccine, a number confirmed by team and league sources Sunday.
This vaccine resistance has left the ownership group and the management team terrified and exasperated. The playoffs are within reach, but a COVID-19 shutdown hovers over the season like the sword of Damocles.
As the Delta variant pushes a nationwide surge in new cases, largely among the unvaccinated, a large portion of the clubhouse has ignored pleas from the team to accept protection. The Phillies even gave away free tickets, refreshments, and a promotional item to any fan who accepted a free vaccine at a series against the Braves in early June.