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