Desmond is the fourth known player to publicly withdraw from the 2020 MLB season – opening scheduled for July 23-24 Mike Leake Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross, both with nationals of Washington.
Desmond also urged the sport to improve its representation from top to bottom and do more to encourage black children to grow up playing baseball.
“Think about it: right now in baseball, we’re having a labor war. We have an individualism rampant on the ground. In clubs, we have racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or categorical problems. We are cheating. We have a minority problem from top to bottom. An African American general manager. Two African American managers. Less than 8% of black players. No majority black team owners.
“Perhaps the most disheartening of all is an astonishing lack of focus on making baseball accessible and possible for all children, not just those who are privileged to afford it.
“If baseball is the American pastime, it may never have been as appropriate as it is now,” wrote Desmond.
He added that the murder of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis had broken his coping mechanism and made it impossible to suppress his feelings.
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Desmond, 34, said he will spend the rest of the summer working with youth baseball in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida.
Desmond was about to start his fourth season with the Rockies and 12th overall before deciding to retire. Desmond made his debut in 2009 with the Washington Nationals and played in D.C. until 2015.
The game was originally scheduled to start on March 26 before COVID-19 postponed the start of the season indefinitely. Players are currently scheduled to report to training camp on July 1.