There’s no way to know what’s going through Ian Desmond’s head these days. I’m sure if you sat down 100 expectant fathers, you’d get 100 different stories of the pre-birth stress they all encounter. The difference is the other 99 aren’t everyday major league baseball players.
A ground ball or a throw to Desmond over the past couple of weeks results in a lot of fans holding their breath. It’s particularly unfortunate, inasmuch as there’s little doubt he’s capable of playing the position. He admits he has a lot on his mind and watching replays of some of his misplays, he looks distracted at times.
When I was awaiting the birth of my first child (who arrived two weeks late - we thought about using “Hesitation” as a middle name), I was pretty nervous myself, and I was 38 years old, at least chronologically. At 25, Desmond is in a far more stressful occupation than most young men, and being away from his bride when the club is on the road doesn’t help the situation, nor did the added pressure of filling the leadoff spot the first couple of weeks.
You may disagree, but Jim Riggleman’s reluctance to bench Desmond displays a level of support many other managers wouldn’t offer. Desmond has only known one organization since he was drafted in 2004, and it’s been apparent from day one that the franchise believed he was a genuine foundation-type player.
He’ll get through this, and he’ll learn from it. That the club has maintained around a .500 record without hitting much, missing Ryan Zimmerman and Desmond’s issues is perhaps more than we could expect.
Fatherhood is the most significant role Desmond will play in his lifetime. Let’s not lose sight of that.