For the 60-game 2020 MLB season, it has been agreed upon by the league and the union that any player may choose to opt out of the season. Some players have already announced they will be sitting out the season and putting their health and families first during the pandemic.
Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies outfielder, has just announced today in a lengthy Instagram post that he will not be playing this season. Desmond has a family at home including his pregnant wife and four young children. He stated that he is obligated to stay home to “answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.” Desmond grew up facing racism from a very young age. During his high school tenure, his teammates would chant “white power” before games, and Desmond uses his platform to spread a good message to end social injustice.
Another player who has recently decided to sit out this season is reigning World Series champion Ryan Zimmerman. The Washington Nationals sensation is a 15-year veteran, having played with the team his entire career. Although there was speculation that the 35-year old would retire after winning the World Series in 2019, he confirms he is not retiring. His teammate, pitcher Joe Ross has already followed his decision of taking the season off as well. The two, similar to Desmond, believe playing is not worth the risk of their families contracting the virus.
It will be interesting to see if any more players follow Desmond, Zimmerman, Ross, and others who have opted out of the 2020 season. The loss of even one or two players for a single team would be devastating, but clubs can understand their decisions and will have to put the players’ priorities first, especially this year. It is inevitable that the 2020 season will go down as one of the most eventful and unique seasons of all time, and will be interesting to see how it plays out.