FORT MYERS, Fla. — The anniversary of the sports shutdown in this country due to COVID-19 arrives this week and the daily count for vaccine doses administered has reached 2 million in the United States.
The time is here for Major League Baseball to be allowed to purchase 7,500 doses – 250 per team – and greatly increase the chances of a season that starts April 1 and proceeds with minimal disruptions.
MLB can't campaign for this, because anecdotal cases of older people not having received shots would surface, and the outcry that a privileged class has pushed in front of a grandmother from Beltrami County would be thunderous.
The truth is, if grandma hasn't gotten at the least her first shot in Minnesota, it's the fault of relatives not helping "Grams'' through the confusion, rather than baseball taking a tiniest drop from the supply.
My sister-in-law, the one of whom I said 30 years ago "won't take 'yes' for an answer,'' did that for the bride and me in early February. ("Call this number at 8 a.m. and wait!'')
We completed the Pfizer two-step through the fine workers at Hennepin County Medical center on Feb. 22.
Clearly, it's public relations for the nation's bureaucrats and for the Commissioner's Office — not vaccine supply — that means MLB must continue to put itself through the incredible inconsistency of COVID protocols.
Thirty baseball organizations are doing this when .375/thousandth of one day's dosage (and a fraction getting more miniscule by the hour) in the United States would take care of all of them.
There have been reports that a fair percentage of big leaguers would decline to be vaccinated. The remedy for that would be simple: You don't take the vaccine, you're not with the team.
Individual players could get around this by offering a proper excuse, which wouldn't be a belief that COVID has been a political hoax.
This proposal is not to deprive the nation's older population, but rather to aid to it by providing uninterrupted baseball. In honor of Sid Hartman, who would be turning 101 on Monday if he hadn't become the first 100-year-old to die in a major upset last October, we should vaccinate MLB this month as a service to the "shut-ins.''
There is no ridicule aimed at this group, one reason being that at 75 years, 5 months, I could be joining it at any minute, but rather as a reminder that Sid was able to get several stadiums built in the Twin Cities and media arrangements changed by crying out persistently what the loss ofbig-league teams would mean to the quality of life for our "shut-ins.''
Generally, the plea for shut-in awareness came on Sid's Sunday morning radio show, expanded to 2 ½ hours for much of its run. Legend has it, Sid's sports show was the highest-rated in the nation on Sundays for a number of years – until he gave a half-hour to whatever Gophers football coach once too often and listeners just couldn't take the same questions followed by the same answers any longer.
Dave Mona, Sid's partner and guide through this show, was asked by text when "shut-ins'' became an important part of Mr. Hartman's spiel to do right by Minnesota's sports teams (i.e., Twins and Vikings).
Mona believed it went back to the fight to build the Metrodome, which became fervent around 1976, carried through the Twins' six-month Victory One Sports debacle in 2003-04, and lasted through approval for Target Field for the Twins (opened: 2010) and U.S. Bank Stadium (opened: 2016).
"Someone once wrote a letter to the show stating how much having the Twins meant to shut-ins, and Sid went with that for three decades or longer,'' Mona recalled.
Never were the shut-ins due to be more deprived than when the Twins announced in July 2006 that the flagship for its radio broadcasts would be moving from WCCO-AM to KSTP-AM.
Sid had managed to waylay this dastardly event a couple of years earlier by pleading successfully with owner Carl Pohlad not to allow an arranged move that would have placed Twins' broadcasts on KFAN, which was then an AM station.
Carl decided not to stop the move to KSTP, and Sid managed to get senior citizens – especially the shut-ins – into a dither over never being able to hear a Twins' broadcast again. (As a long-term worker at KSTP, I must admit Sid had a point, since there were many Golden Agers in Minnesota still not aware that radio existed other than on 8-3-0.)
It's on record that the last time Sid turned into Chubby Checker and did the Twist was when it was announced that the Twins would be returning to the Big Neighbor for 2018.
Surprisingly, what we did learn through Sid about shut-ins is they didn't care that much about hockey, once it was decided to the build the arena for the expansion Wild in St. Paul, and they weren't going to care about soccer, no matter where Allianz Field wound up being located.
Again, no disrespect here to my age group, but as his biographer, I have Sid's proxy on this:
Vaccinate MLB. Our shut-ins need the Twins — for 162 games uninterrupted and on 'CCO, of course.