In a lengthy Instagram post Monday that covered several topics, Colorado Rockies veteran Ian Desmond announced that he will not play the 2020 MLB season and instead spend the rest of the year with his family.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking,” he wrote, adding, “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. 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, who is biracial, also shared his thoughts on George Floyd’s death, his personal experiences with racism, and his heartbrokenness over the lack of support for youth baseball in general, but specifically his hometown of Sarasota, Fla. He vowed to spend his time away from playing baseball to help build up the sport at the youth level.
And he’ll be home to help lead and guide his family as he follows Christ. Desmond lists himself as a Christian first on his Instagram page, and spoke to Sports Spectrum Magazine in 2016 about his faith.
“I find a ton of hope in the fact that God is so full of grace,” he said.
Desmond was baptized as a kid and attended Catholic school until fifth grade, but then baseball began to take over his life and weekends, pushing God to the side. Getting married in 2010 started to change the couples’ path.
“My wife had no background in faith, and she started to ask me questions, and I didn’t really feel like I was in a place in my life to answer them,” Desmond said. “I probably could have answered them, but I didn’t want to mislead her. She started going to Bible studies and chapels, and I was pushing her away because I was so focused on chasing my (MLB) dream.”
When the couple began to have children, however, Desmond made a New Year’s resolution for 2012 to read the Bible twice a day, every day. “At that point, my life started to take a turn,” he said.
Desmond’s career began to take off in a big way in 2012, the year he was first named to the All-Star team. But an oblique injury forced him to make the painful decision to pull out of the big game. He continued to push through the injury, trying to finish the second half of the season strong. He became so focused on doing treatment for the oblique injury that when Sunday came he decided to miss his very first team chapel that season.
“The chaplain came into my locker, and I said, ‘Tim, I don’t think I can make it today. I have to go get treatment.’ So the chapel started, I went to the training room, and I was overtaken with goose bumps, like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ I walked back into that chapel room and Tim looked at me, we made eye contact, and that was the moment I knew that God was in control and I didn’t need to get treatment, and He was going to take care of me,” Desmond recalled.
Desmond had the realization that although spending time on his physical health was vital to recovery, so was time spent on his spiritual health in prayer and fellowship with his brothers in Christ. Trusting God in the midst of injury is a major step in spiritual maturity.
“I think before I committed myself to God, an error [on the field], trouble at home, an argument, whatever — I would search for that stopgap, that 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes of peace, whether it was through alcohol, drugs, girls or bars,” he said. “I thank God that now instead of chasing things that are so insignificant, I rely on Jesus to fill that void for me on a daily basis.”
After seven seasons with the Washington Nationals, Desmond played for Texas in 2016 (another All-Star season) before signing with the Rockies prior to the 2017 season. He hit .255 with 20 home runs and 65 RBIs in 2019, playing multiple positions in the field.
Earlier Monday, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake and Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross announced they also will not play the 2020 season.
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