dale scott mlb baseball umpire gay comes out

My first three reactions to the news that umpire Dale Scott recently came out:

1. Damn, I need to subscribe to Referee.

2. This is really good news for Major League Baseball.


3. This might be today’s best news for all of us.

About that second item, I say it’s really good news for Major League Baseball because the news says something quite positive about Major League Baseball, which apparently has known about Scott’s sexuality for some years, and fully supported him. From the outstanding Outsports story that broke the news to a wide audience:

While still reluctant about becoming the story, Scott nonetheless was expansive and articulate when we talked in mid-November. He has always been proud of who he is and of his relationship with Rausch and figured the news wouldn’t shock the people who sign his checks.

"If you want to write a story I can’t stop you," he said. "I’m also not worried because I do know who I am. I think Major League Baseball has proven that it certainly isn’t an issue with them. I’ve worked three World Series, I’ve worked the playoffs consistently, I’ve been a crew chief for 12 years. Obviously, if they had an issue with my life, it would be shown in my career with lack of assignments.

"I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else and that’s the way it should be."

Scott is a classic example of someone who is openly gay within his workplace and social circle but, until now, not publicly out. He never held a meeting with fellow umpires or with management to discuss his sexual orientation, yet he never hid his relationship with Rausch and says eventually everyone in his circle figured it out by the late ’90s.

I’ve been critical of Major League Baseball for essentially being last on this, or nearly last. Which seems to me an embarrassing position for an organization that spends half its time wrapping itself in the flag and the other half in Jackie Robinson’s retired jersey number. It’s not that MLB hasn’t taken some positive steps; it’s that it took them so long. And no, the Players Association hasn’t really done anything positive at all, with too many veteran players — they’re the ones who mostly run the union — still stuck with their old prejudices and (I’m sorry to say) hatred.

Of course that’s changing too. And if umpires can change, we can all change. Because they’re just about the reddest-blooded, he-mannest people around. Granted, we’ve known for a while that our attitudes toward different sorts of people generally softens when we actually know different sorts of people. Especially if we know them really, really well. It just seems that if the testosterone-fuelled world of umpires can accept and even embrace a colleague, there’s no stopping this particular equality train.

And maybe when we nail this one, we can push a little harder on the others.