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Ian Desmond. Mark Brown/Getty Images

  • Colorado Rockies outfield Ian Desmond shared an essay on Instagram about inclusion in baseball and the U.S. while announcing he is sitting out the 2020 MLB season.
  • Desmond, who is biracial, criticized the lack of diversity in MLB and the accessibility of baseball to all people while saying baseball's culture is based on "white rules.
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  • Desmond said he believes childhood education and resources is a key problem to address in the U.S. and said he'd focus his time on youth baseball in Florida.
  • Desmond's essay got widespread praise online for its poignancy and honesty.
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Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced on Instagram that he'll be sitting out the 2020 MLB season with a powerful essay.

Desmond, a two-time All-Star, said he is sitting out to be with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic, but shared a message about inclusion in baseball and the U.S.

In the essay, Desmond recalled how baseball has shaped his life, both good and bad. Desmond, who is biracial, recalled one of his Little League teams shouting "White Power" before games, with two of his Black teammates sitting in silence.

"I had the most heartbreak and the most fulfillment right there on those fields — in the same exact place," Desmond wrote. "I felt the hurt of racism, the loneliness of abandonment, and so many other emotions. But I also felt the triumph of success. The love of others. The support of a group of men pulling for each other and picking one another up as a team.

"I got to experience that because it was a place where baseball could be played by any kid who wanted. It was there, it was affordable, and it was staffed by people who cared."

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images Desmond wrote about a 12-year-old boy named Antwaun he met through the Washington Nationals youth academy. Desmond wrote that Antwaun could barely read or write, his family was poor, and he had witnessed violence as a young kid. Desmond wrote that Antwaun was shot to death when he was 18 years old.

"Meanwhile, my kids fly all over the country watching their dad play. They attend private schools, and get extra curriculum from learning centers. They have safe places to learn, grow, develop. But ... the only thing dividing us from Antwaun is money."

Desmond said youth education should be the No. 1 focus in America.

Desmond then criticized the culture of baseball, saying MLB still has problems with inclusion at all levels and that baseball's culture is based on "white rules."

He referred to an old quote about making baseball better for future generations and skewered the current state of the game.

"If what Dick Lee knew to be true remains so — that baseball is about passing on what we've learned to those who come after us in hopes of bettering the future for others — then it seems to me that America's pastime is failing to do what it could, just like the country it entertains.

"Think about it: right now in baseball we've got a labor war. We've got rampant individualism on the field. In the clubhouse we've got racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or just flat-out problems. We've got cheating. We've got a minority issue from the top down. One African-American GM. Two African-American managers. Less than 8% Black players. No Black majority team owners. 

"Perhaps most disheartening of all is a puzzling lack of focus on understanding how to change those numbers. A lack of focus on making baseball accessible and possible for all kids, not just those who are privileged enough to afford it."

"The golden rules of baseball — don't have fun, don't pimp home runs, don't play with character," Desmond continued. "Those are white rules. Don't do anything fancy. Take it down a notch. Keep it all in a box ... If we didn't foce Black Americans into White America's box, think of how much we could thrive."

Desmond's post received widespread praise online.

—Ben Ennis (@SportsnetBen) June 30, 2020—Brody Logan (@BrodyLogan) June 30, 2020—Charlotte Clymer

News Source: insider.com

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2020 Baseball First-Round Signing Bonuses

The signing bonuses for the first-round selections in the 2020 baseball amateur draft:

1. Detroit Tigers, Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Arizona St., $8,416,300

2. Baltimore Orioles, Heston Kjerstad, OF, Arkansas, $5.2 million

3. Miami Marlins, Max Meyer, RHP, Minnesota, $6.7 million

4. Kansas City Royals, Asa Lacy, LHP, Texas A&M., $6.67 million

5. Toronto Blue Jays, Austin Martin, SS, Vanderbilt, $7,000,825

6. Seattle Mariners, Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia, $5.7 million

7. Pittsburgh Pirates, Nick Gonzales, SS, New Mexico St., $5,432,400

8. San Diego Padres, Robert Hassell III, OF, Independence H.S., Thompson Station, Tenn., $4.3 million

9. Colorado Rockies, Zac Veen, OF, Spruce Creek H.S., Port Orange, Fla., $5 million

10. Los Angeles Angels, Reid Detmers, LHP, Louisville, $4.67 million

11. Chicago White Sox, Garrett Crochet, LHP, Tennessee, $4,547,500

12. Cincinnati Reds, Austin Hendrick, OF, West Allegheny H.S., Imperial, Pa., $4 million

13. San Francisco Giants, Patrick Bailey, C, NC State, $3.8 million

14. Texas Rangers, Justin Foscue, 2B, Mississippi St., $3.25 million

15. Philadelphia Phillies, Mick Abel, RHP, Jesuit H.S., Portland, Ore., $4,075,000

16. Chicago Cubs, Ed Howard, SS, Mt. Carmel H.S., Chicago, Ill., $3,745,500

17. Boston Red Sox, Nick Yorke, 2B, Archbishop Mitty H.S., San Jose,Calif., $2.7 million

18. Arizona Diamondbacks, Bryce Jarvis, RHP, Duke, $2.65 million

19. New York Mets, Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Harvard-Westlake H.S., Studio City, Calif., $3,359,000

20. Milwaukee Brewers, Garrett Mitchell, OF, UCLA, $3,242,900

21. St. Louis Cardinals, Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur H.S., Decatur, Ga., $2.9 million

22. Washington Nationals, Cade Cavalli, RHP, Oklahoma, $3,027,000

23. Cleveland Indians, Carson Tucker, SS, Mountain Pointe H.S., Phoenix, $2 million

24. Tampa Bay Rays, Nick Bitsko, RHP, Central Bucks East H.S., Doylestown, Pa., $3 million

25. Atlanta Braves, Jared Shuster, LHP, Wake Forest, $2,197,500

26. Oakland Athletics, Tyler Soderstrom, C, Turlock H.S., Calif., $3.3 million

27. Minnesota Twins, Aaron Sabato, 1B, North Carolina, $2.75 million

28. New York Yankees, Austin Wells, C, Arizona, $2.5 million

29. Los Angeles Dodgers, Bobby Miller, RHP, Louisville, $2,197,500

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