DENVER -- Hurt and angered by dealing with racism throughout his life, concerned about the future of baseball, and vowing to be with his family and help young players in the Sarasota, Fla., area get an opportunity, Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced on Instagram on Monday that he will not
DENVER -- Hurt and angered by dealing with racism throughout his life, concerned about the future of baseball, and vowing to be with his family and help young players in the Sarasota, Fla., area get an opportunity, Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced on Instagram on Monday that he will not play in the 60-game 2020 Major League Baseball season.
Desmond, 34, told his story in a nine-page Instagram post, that concluded with him saying that he is not comfortable playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Because Desmond is not considered to be a “high-risk” player, he will not receive his salary or accrue service time this season.
The final page of his post read: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking. But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving baseball behind for the year. I’ll be right here, at my old Little League, and I’m working with everyone involved to make sure we get Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track. It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much. So I am.
“With a pregnant wife and four children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now. Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their dad.”
Four players have thus far revealed they will not play this season -- a season that was halted in March when baseball and all sports decided it was not safe to proceed amid a pandemic. The others are the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross, and the D-backs' Mike Leake.
Desmond began the post noting that a few weeks ago he discussed racism and how it had reared itself in his life. Near the beginning of Monday’s post, he wrote that he tried to keep things inside, “But that comes at an internal cost, and I could no longer keep a lid on what I was feeling. The image of officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on the neck of George Floyd, the gruesome murder of a Black man in the street at the hands of a police officer, broke my coping mechanism.”
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.