What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale goes over Ian Desmond’s decision to opt out of playing this season and why race and inclusion were a contributing factor.


Throughout nearly 4 months away from the game, Mookie Betts stated he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why.

The 2018 American League A Lot Of Prized possession Player was jolted by a January trade from Boston to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team for which he might never ever play thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has a mere 60 video games to additional develop his market value before hitting complimentary firm– a once-glorious proposition now rather dulled by an industry roiled by infighting and reduced revenues due to the pandemic.

And like the rest of the nation, he saw as George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis policeman and saw the international numeration that followed– and agreed with the perception that Major League Baseball’s postponed reaction came up short.

” I believe baseball did refrain from doing a great job with that,” Betts, among the mere 8%of MLB players who are African American, stated of the preliminary action. “However I believe voices were heard, and I believe that’s the main point that we got our voices heard to make some changes.”

Meanwhile, 4 days into MLB’s “summer camp” to prepare for a July 23-24 start to a 60- game season, COVID-19 testing problems briefly paralyzed workouts for a half-dozen teams, and while the Dodgers, supervisor Dave Roberts said, have actually been fortunate in getting outcomes, the problems did not escape Betts’ notification.

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Given that spring training shut down March 12, Betts golfed and fished for catfish and cherished time with 20- month-old Brianna, “most likely the very best three months I have actually needed to get near my child,” he said.

And he and Dodgers fans both were left to ponder that he might never play a game for them after they dealt Alex Verdugo and potential customers Jeter Downs and Connor Wong to the Red Sox for Betts.

Now, weeks later on, even with stringent protocols in location, Betts recognizes it will take some good luck to get this season off the ground.

” I can’t state that I’m positive since it hasn’t been revealed yet,” Betts stated of the league testing policy, which might threaten making it through 60 video games and the postseason.

” That definitely enters play. We’ve got to get to the season first.”

However he’ll play. Unlike long time colleague David Cost, who pulled out of this season after coming over in the trade from Boston, Betts needs this year to get the season of service time required to reach complimentary company. He reportedly refused a $300 million contract extension from the Red Sox, and need to still top that in totally free firm, even if the marketplace is depressed.

Per a March arrangement with MLB and the Players’ Association, Betts and other veterans will get service time if the season does not get off the ground. He’ll discover an irreversible home come December– with so lots of unknowns between now and then.

” Free agency is nothing that I’m thinking about right now,” states Betts, who turns 28 in October. “There’s a lot going on that requires to be resolved and totally free company is not one of those things.”


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