(KMOV.com) -- Resuming professional sports in the age of the coronavirus pandemic is a massively complicated endeavor. From questions of the financial viability of leagues with important revenue streams missing to how to properly handle protocols following the inevitable positive cases that will crop up throughout many clubhouses and locker rooms, the stumbling blocks for firing up leagues like the NHL, NBA and MLB are plentiful.
A significant aspect that often might be overlooked is the degree to which players are willing to risk the health of themselves or their families to participate in whatever version of a season the leagues are able to compile in 2020. While several basketball players have come out in recent days and weeks to state they would not be participating in the NBA's upcoming plan to restart its season in an Orlando, Fla. bubble at Disney World, we hadn't had any formally known examples of baseball players who planned to opt out of the upcoming campaign--until Monday.
Former Cardinals pitcher Mike Leake, currently of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will reportedly decline to participate in the 2020 MLB season, training camps for which are set to begin later this week.
Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is the first known major league player to opt out of the 2020 season, sources tell ESPN.Leake was positioned to be fighting for a spot at the back end of the Diamondbacks' rotation. @SteveGilbertMLB first said Leake was opting out.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 29, 2020
Leake is still under the five-year, $80 million contract he signed with St. Louis in December 2015, but will be eligible for free agency this winter. The Cardinals traded Leake to Seattle during the 2017 season.
A statement issued to Jeff Passan by Leake's agent Danny Horwits reads, "During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season. They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family. After thorough consideration, he has chosen to opt out of playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health for his Diamondback teammates and he's looking forward to 2021."
The MLB season is expected to begin the weekend of July 24 following training camps being held around the country. The Cardinals will hold their main camp in St. Louis, with a satellite camp taking place in Springfield, Mo.
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