Shortstop Andrelton Simmons says depression and suicidal thoughts led to his decision to retire in the final week of the 2020 Los Angeles Angels regular season, telling the Orange County Register that “the idea of finishing the season in a bubble was too much for me to handle. “
Simmons, who recently finalized a one-year, $ 10.5 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, chose to share his story in writing, via a series of Twitter direct messages, rather than verbally, because “he’s always difficult to articulate certain things or to be open. “
The Angels announced on September 22 that Simmons had retired from the last five games of the regular season. No further information was provided, although Simmons said in a statement that he felt it was “the best decision for me and for my family.” At the time, the Angels were mathematically still in the hunt for the second wild card and second place for the AL West. While their chances of reaching the playoffs are slim, league rules demanded that potential playoff teams begin quarantining themselves that week in preparation for the next playoff games.
“It was difficult for me mentally to know where the thought of suicide was going through my mind,” Simmons told The Register. “It’s something I swore a long time ago that I would never consider again.” I was fortunate enough to speak to a therapist, which helped me let go of these thoughts. In the end, while a lot of people were still going through what most thought were such tough times, the thought of ending the season in a bubble was too much for me to handle. “
Simmons only played 30 games in the shortened regular season, running out of time with an ankle injury for a third straight summer. He told the Registry it was difficult to focus on baseball as so many people struggled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first time was while driving through Oakland and seeing some of the stores and restaurants trying to stay open with all the homeless camping outside,” he said. “This is where it really hit me.”
Simmons began communicating with a therapist, but his reluctance to enter a knockout bubble persisted.
“I was really saddened to hear about the death toll and how small businesses were going out of business and I was a little depressed about how the effects of all the new rules and regulations were. fears were going to affect people’s livelihoods and how disconnected people were becoming, ”he says.
Simmons told the Register he wasn’t talking about his reasons for stepping down at the time “because I don’t like the idea of having to explain every detail of my life” and “was afraid people judge and people twist my story. ”But he said he changed his mind when he realized that being open about your situation could help others in difficulty.
Information from ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez was used in this report.