Arizona

Personal Growth Fueling DeShields Entering 2019 Season

It won’t take long for baseball fans to notice increased confidence in Delino DeShields Jr. this spring.

“He brings a little different attitude. He’s got a little edge to him,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “He feels like he’s got a lot to prove. You watch him in drills, he’s the first guy. He sets the tone and he wants to be the guy to set the tone for the team.”

DeShields also brings a new look going into the 2019 season, with blue hair and new tattoos serving as a tribute to the Negro Leagues. The 26-year-old outfielder is determined to break down the perceived walls standing between players who play baseball and the fans who love watching it.

“I want people to know who I am outside my uniform and outside of my family because I don’t want to be defined just as a baseball player,” said DeShields. “Fans and everybody just see us in our uniform and then they see us in our street clothes and they are terrified of us. It’s kind of a different way to interact with the fans.”

DeShields is trying to help grow the game of baseball while experiencing personal growth away from the field. He was baptized at his home church in Rockwall last month. It was a decision DeShields had put off for years.

“The time was now and I just got it done. It was something I had been wanting to do,” said DeShields. “It’s something that means a lot to me. It’s very important and an incredible experience.”

That personal growth, along with his new look, have DeShields feeling confident as he prepares to take the field again as a member of the Texas Rangers.

“(I) just want to be comfortable in my own skin and be uncomfortable with a lot of things that I’m not used to doing.”

The Rangers open Cactus League play against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon in Surprise, Arizona.

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