DeJong: We Understand The Risks We're Taking

Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong understands why certain players are opting out of the 2020 season, but he intends to play "for the love of the game"

Tiki and Tierney
June 30, 2020 - 11:16 am
Paul DeJong Cardinals

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Several MLB players, including Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Joe Ross and Mike Leake, have opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong understands why these players have made this decision, but the 26-year-old fully intends to play in 2020.

“Ryan Zimmerman, coming off a World Series and a long career with the Nationals, I can understand where he’s coming from,” DeJong said on Tiki & Tierney. “But a guy like me and some younger guys, hungry guys on this team, want to be out there no matter what. We’re understanding the risks that we’re taking going out there and exposing ourselves, but really, we’re just doing it for the love of the game and really for our careers moving forward. These are huge years for a lot of us right now and a development process. Me personally, I’d like to do whatever I can to play as many games as possible this year.”

DeJong, an All-Star in 2019, hit .233 with 30 home runs and 78 RBIs last season. He also stole nine bases and scored 97 runs for the Cardinals (91-71), who won the NL Central. St. Louis beat the Braves in the NLDS before getting swept by the Nationals in the NLCS.

DeJong is eager to get back to the playoffs – and happy that the owners and the players association were able to agree on return-to-play proposals for the 2020 season.

“It just seemed a little pointless at the end when we finally agreed right where we had been asking,” he said. “Obviously we wanted more games, but time constraints can always factor in. So it just felt like a waste. But I also understood what was going on in society and things we needed to adjust to as a whole. It’s easy to think baseball and professional sports are a big part of everyday life, but when you got all these things going on in our country right now, it just puts things on a backburner. I could understand why we were still taking our time to progress through this. I definitely got some perspective as time went on, but it got a little restless toward the end. But here we are ramping back up, so guys are rolling in. I was just leaving the stadium, guys are here and excited – so the energy is back up.”