Major League Baseball is set to begin its 2020 season next month, but not everyone is going to be playing.
Players have the option to skip the shortened 60-game season. So far, four Major League players have decided to do just that.
Washington Nationals All-Star first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who has three young kids and a mother with health problems, will not be playing. Neither will Nationals pitcher Joe Ross.
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake has also decided to pass on the season. He was the first player to publicly do so on Monday afternoon.
Colorado Rockies slugger Ian Desmond joined the list on Monday evening. The two-time All-Star posted a lengthy message about his decision on Instagram.
“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,” Desmond wrote. “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.”
Desmond also made a point to say that we need to do a better job of building up our communities, which is what he’ll try to do this year.
“Why can’t we support teaching the game to all kids — but especially those in underprivileged communities?” Desmond wrote. “Why aren’t accessible, affordable youth sports viewed as an essential opportunity to affect kids’ development, as opposed to money-making propositions and recruiting chances? It’s hard to wrap your head around it.”
Desmond, 34, will be spending his time this summer helping out in his hometown of Sarasota, Fla. “It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much,” he wrote. “So, I am.”
It’s unclear how many MLB players will ultimately decide to pass on the 2020 season, but the number is sure to grow.