If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Mookie Betts play in person, find comfort in knowing that there is a chance you might at least see the two-time World Series Champion in a grocery store near you.
Last week, the Dodgers star spent time at a Ralph’s grocery store in downtown Los Angeles, where he urged people in the community to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In addition to voicing his support for vaccination efforts in Southern California, Betts also took the time to thank front-line workers.
In an interview with CBS Los Angeles, Betts stated his motivation for urging people to get vaccines is that he simply wants the world to get back to normal.
For Betts to publicly advocate for vaccine efforts might come as a surprise to some people. Back in March, when vaccines were starting to become available, he originally stated that he wouldn’t comment on whether or not he had been vaccinated. For some, this raised questions on Betts’ stance on the COVID-19 vaccine.
#Dodgers Mookie Betts won't comment when asked whether he has been vaccinated or if he thinks team will reach 85 pct threshold MLB has set for relaxing protocols: "That whole vaccine is a personal decision. I'd like to just leave it in the clubhouse."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 30, 2021
Regardless of whether or not Betts himself has or has been vaccinated, no one can debate that disclosing his decision is indeed a personal choice. Nevertheless, Betts’ tune these days, at least for the general public, is that vaccines can be the next step towards the life we knew before the pandemic began in 2020.
So far, as it stands now, 51.1 percent of Los Angeles County residents are fully vaccinated. Of all 50 states, California is currently sitting at number 20 on the list of highest vaccination rates. With such high vaccination rates, Californians have been able to reap the benefits of life with less restrictions. For Dodgers fans, they’ve been able to sit in Dodger Stadium at full capacity since June 15, 2021.
While Betts has openly advocated for people to get vaccinated, he isn’t the first MLBbro to voice his opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine. Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward openly expressed his desire to not get the vaccine due to personal reasons.
Heyward on the COVID-19 vaccine: "I think everybody has to make that decision personally. I can vouch for it and say I got the vaccine. I have bad asthma, allergies. I was in the hospital all the time as a kid. I just thought to myself, I don't want to give another reason why."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) May 25, 2021
Despite Heyward’s stance on getting the vaccine for himself, he cracked down on his opinion that more focus should be put on the safety protocols for the fans. While more MLB teams are allowing full capacity, Heyward noted that fans, unlike players, don’t get tested before coming to games.
Heyward could very well have a point. When tens of thousands of people are packed in a stadium with no restrictions, that could be detrimental to the spread of COVID-19. However, one could say that the words of Heyward are exactly why Betts’ efforts are so impactful. In a world where we are now seeing restrictions lessened, Betts is ensuring that adequate attention is given to the health and safety of fans and other members of his community.