Skip to main content

Rainbow flag
Today, Major League Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, announced the appointment of former major leaguer, Billy Bean, as Baseball's Ambassador for Inclusion.
In his new role, Bean, who made public his homosexuality in 1999, will provide guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community throughout Major League Baseball. He will work with Major and Minor League clubs to encourage equal opportunity in accordance with the joint MLB-MLBPA Workplace Code of Conduct.
As an institution, Major League Baseball is marking the occasion of tonight's MLB All-Star Game, aka the Midsummer Classic, by highlighting an official policy of inclusion for the National Pastime. The MLB General Manager for Baseball Operations, Joe Torre, today signed the pledge advocated by the organization Athlete Ally, that states:
   "I pledge to lead my athletic community to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Finally, at tonight's game, baseball will honor Lutha Burke, the sister of the late former Major League outfielder Glenn Burke, to pay homage to the first openly gay man to play the major league game.

Watch the stands when Major League Baseball honors its gay Jackie Robinson in front of an international TV audience and a packed ballpark. Those flashes you see might be cameras, but then again, they might be right wing homophobe's heads exploding.

If you are not a baseball fan you can step out into the tall grass for some inside baseball info about Bud Selig, Billy Bean, Joe Torre and Glenn Burke.

Billy Bean knows something of playing the sport from inside the closet. He did not come out until after his playing career had ended. Bean played as a back-up outfielder and left handed pinch hitter for several major league teams in the 1980's and 1990's. He later published a biography about his experience as a player. Given the job that Commissioner Selig has given him, I'd guess that Billy Bean will know where to look and who to look for in addressing LGBT inclusion in the sport.  

Bud Selig started selling Fords in Milwaukee, got rich and bought a baseball team, eventually succumbing forever and completely to his true love and becoming Commissioner of Major League Baseball, a hallowed and storied office of immense power within its particular sphere. By many measures, some would deem Bud Selig to be one of the most successful Baseball Commissioners in history, presiding over an unprecedented period of peace with the MLB Players Association and previously undreamed of prosperity and competitiveness for his sport. He also presided over the principal innovation of tonight's All-Star Game: now the outcome matters. The League that wins gets home field advantage for the World Series. Good rule, that. On this issue, LGBT rights, Bud Selig is out in front of all of his counterparts in the other major professional American sports.

Joe Torre bears a legendary name in the sport. After an accomplished 17 year playing career with the Milwaukee Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and N.Y Mets, he went on to an even more distinguished career as a manager in Atlanta, St. Louis, New York and Los Angeles, that resulted in his induction into Baseball's Hall of Fame. Now, his job is CEO of all of baseball. Like his boss, Commissioner Selig,  Joe Torre is out in front of all of his counterparts in the other major American professional sports on inclusiveness in his sport.

Glenn Burke was an outfielder who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970's. He was the first Major League Baseball player to come out to team mates during his playing career. No one has done so since. In one of those curve balls history sometimes tosses up, many credit Glenn Burke, along with then team mate Dusty Baker, with inventing the High 5, on the occasion of Baker's 30th major league home run. Tonight Major League Baseball will posthumously honor Glenn Burke's courage and sacrifice. Tonight, baseball will step forward, and away from an absurd and dangerous social stigma reaching out from a dead and dying past, to embrace justice, merit and inclusion, to represent, as our original national sport, an even bigger and better America than ever.

I didn't provide any links to any of this inside baseball stuff because, as Casey Stengel might say, you can look it up

Originally posted to LeftOfYou on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community and The Wide World of Sports.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I love baseball, my favorite sport. (23+ / 0-)

    Now more than ever.

    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by LeftOfYou on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:16:50 PM PDT

  •  Baseball is my favorite, too, together with hockey (9+ / 0-)

    Go Red Sox!

    Nice move by the Commissioner.

    SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

    by commonmass on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:21:37 PM PDT

  •  In the immortal words of Chico Escuela: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson, LeftOfYou, Mannie, ejoanna, susanala
    "Baseball been berry berry good to me."
    I'm not a huge fan of Bud Selig, but I'm impressed with his willingness to get the people at the very top of the game on board with full LGBT inclusion.

    Thanks for writing about this.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:49:45 PM PDT

  •  I think you're confusing Billy Beans here (10+ / 0-)

    Billy Bean is a former player who came out as gay and was appointed ambassador for inclusion. Billy Beane is a former player who is now the GM of the A's and the guy Brad Pitt played in Moneyball.

    Nevertheless, great move by the MLB.

    "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

    by yg17 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:52:58 PM PDT

  •  I do have to disagree with this, however: (9+ / 0-)
    He also presided over the principal innovation of tonight's All-Star Game: now the outcome matters. The League that wins gets home field advantage for the World Series. Good rule, that.
    I think that is a terrible innovation, brought about because Bud Selig was way too sensitive to the few fans who were grousing about a tie in the 2002 game.

    The All-Star Game shouldn't have any kind of ramifications; it should just be about "here's a chance for the best players in the game to enjoy themselves and try to impress one another."

    That's the thing I love most about the NHL's ASG format, where the league picks 2 captains and they pick their teams out of the pool of All-Stars, like picking teams back in gym class. It makes the game about the players having fun rather than about the outcome actually mattering.

    Hell, if MLB really doesn't want a tie, this is the one instance where I would support deciding a game on a silly skills competition, like a home run derby between the two best sluggers. The All-Star game should be about having fun. The last thing it should do is actually matter.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:57:51 PM PDT

    •  I didn't expect everyone would agree. nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JamesGG, Mannie, ejoanna

      "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

      by LeftOfYou on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 04:06:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The simplest way to determine home-field for WS... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, CoyoteMarti, ejoanna

      Is to award it to which league won the interleague games. For example, in 2013, AL teams went 164-146 against the NL. So the AL team would have had home-field advantage in the WS in 2013.

      My own 2 cents. I don't like the ASG determining home-field, though, for the same reasons you mention above. If it's a crucial and important game, there is no way Derek Jeter should be starting at SS tonight. Yet, obviously, he needs to be there in the last season of an excellent career. It's about fun and honoring the players we respect and admire.

    •  I actually like the home field advantage deal (0+ / 0-)

      (sue me! quoting BHO.  ;)

      But I don't like the tie thing.  I get it that they don't want their star players hurt in a long game, but a tie?  Geez.  Still, I really disliked the shut-outs of the last two ASGs.  I know you can't rule that out of order, but it's so boring. . . which in general, baseball is not!

      "Why you sockdologizing ol' mantrap, you!"

      by ejoanna on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 06:10:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeter's last all-star....I'll be there to see the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, ejoanna, slapshoe

    first pitch

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 04:39:31 PM PDT

  •  It's too bad Burke isn't alive to see this... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, LeftOfYou, ejoanna, sfbob

    Deadspin re-posted a great piece on him from last year.

    Joe Torre is a class-act. He's also been outspoken on prostate cancer, mental health, and child abuse issues. By all accounts, just a very good guy.

    I hope MLB can send the message to any potential ballplayers that they're welcome to be open with who they are. There will be a few neanderthals, of course, but most players, coaches and front-office members will be supportive. Baseball is a bit different from football and basketball in that many players sign directly out of high school, or for foreign prospects, as young as 16. By making inclusion a fundamental aspect of the sport, they can create an atmosphere of tolerance. From the Dominican academies, throughout the minor leagues, the major-league level, they can really set a positive tone.

  •  Bud Selig great person, bad commisioner! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, ejoanna

    I applaud him for this but when it comes to Bud and the running of baseball

    By many measures, some would deem Bud Selig to be one of the most successful Baseball Commissioners in history,
    I must disagree.  He has made baseball accelerate to the point where only a few teams can compete for the best players.

    Every other sport has equal revenue sharing.  This is why a team in a tiny market like the Green Bay Packers in football can afford as many stars as the NY Giants.

    Every other sport practices a form of socialism that keeps all the teams relatively competitive. (Only the people running the organizations prove the distinct advantage/disadvantage)

    But MLB, it is an all out capitalism rules, the richer the team, the better the players.  Many small market teams can not even afford to keep their own players they develop and must either lose them in free agency or trade them for a handful of magic beans (minor league prospects).

    As such, I think Bud is a HORRIBLE commissioner in terms of the product on the field.  But I do applaud him for moving baseball into to 21st century socially.

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:38:24 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the history lesson! And the memories! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, LeftOfYou, ejoanna

    I grew up in the St Louis area, in the Musial, Brock and Gibson eras, but of course didn't know any of this. Best childhood memories/stories: I was born during the '49 World Series (Mom and Dad were Boston transplants) and all the men collected in Mom's room because she had a radio tuned to the game. Hot summer nights on the porch listening to the game and eating ice cream with Dad. The extra credit question on my intro poli sci college final was "What is the significance of 1.96?" [estimating here]. Answer was Bob Gibson's ERA or course! As anyone who paid attention to the first three minutes of every lecture would know. :-p

    Do not grasp. Let go of what is to make space for what is to be.

    by CoyoteMarti on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:57:50 PM PDT

    •  I do believe it was 1.12 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ejoanna, sfbob, CoyoteMarti

      Gibson was nearly twice as good as you've got him! They lowered the mound the next year to make pitchers less dominant.

      “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 06:45:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site