A worker sets up a fence near an outfield entrance at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The return of Major League Baseball players to workouts Wednesday is the first big step toward starting a 60-game sprint of a season fraught with uncertainty.(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

MLB Players Get Ready to Report to Training Camps; Some Athletes Opt Out of Playing

Recently, MLB approved a plan to restart their season. And while this may seem like the perfect news, some players are not very excited. With so many uncertainties brought by the coronavirus, some players have decided to opt out of playing.

Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross are among the players that will not participate in the restart.

“Of course I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family, and I truly appreciate the organization’s understanding and support,” Zimmerman said.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake also decided to sit this one out. His agent explained that his reasonings were private and family-related.

Colorado Rockies’ Ian Desmond (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Players that decided to opt out have discussed several reasons behind their decisions. Many of them believe that it is not safe for them to get back on the diamond.

Others share that their decision to stay home involves way more than a fear of spreading the virus. Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond shared an emotional message on his social media.

In this message, he described that there are many things happening in the world right now that have affected him and his family. He believes that this is the time that he should stay home and take care of his family.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.”


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On my mind.

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Even if a few players opting out doesn’t greatly affect the team rosters or the restart of the season, there are still many concerns regarding this plan.

ESPN’s MLB Reporter Buster Olney explains:

Things to consider during MLB restart 

A perfect restart plan is just one small part of a successful and safe season. In order to ensure everyone’s safety, players and staff must strictly follow all the health guidelines.

“There are some players who are all in on the social distancing, they are happy to wear a mask… other players have indicated their teams ‘this is stupid, this is ridiculous,” Olney said.

Just like regular citizens, some athletes may think that these safety guidelines that have been implemented are not necessary. They could be resistant to the idea that the virus is still dangerous and is still spreading.

Olney says that one way this can be fought is by peer pressure. It will be important for players that do wish to follow these guidelines to explain to their teammates why it is so important to do so.

Olney also explains that full transparency from the league needs to be available for the players. According to him, players deserve and expect to know how many players test positive for the virus. This way, the players can make well-informed decisions when deciding whether or not they want to opt out of the restart.


About Camila Maffuz

Camila is a senior at the University of Florida, who served as a beat writer for the women's basketball team from 2019 until the 2021 season. She was also a beat writer for the Gators football team during the 2020 season. Camila is also WUFT's news director as well as a sports reporter/anchor.

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