Veteran Major League Baseball Umpire and Crew Chief Dale Scott is gay.
This is news that is not news that is sad news. Allow me to explain why this is all three at the same time. This is news because Scott is now the first male umpire/ referee in major North American sports to come out publicly. NBA referee Violet Palmer came out in 2007. As a society, the barriers long faced by the LGBT community are slowly but surely crumbling. Players like Michael Sam and Jason Collins are coming out, as well as leaders in business like Tim Cook of Apple. Gay men and women are no longer destined to live in the shadows and hide who they truly are out of fear. This is not news because it does not matter publicly what goes on with a person outside of their public life, so long as they are not hurting someone else. Why does it matter if Dale Scott is gay? Why does this matter anymore than if he were a vegetarian or a Buddhist? It does not matter, this is about his private life, and it is his to live as he sees fit. Why should someone’s private life be news?
Finally, this is sad news, because simply this is news. Why should anyone have to hide who they are until they are ready to come out? This is a terrible reflection upon us as a society and human beings. How sad is it that we have people who have to announce who and what they are because previously they could not be themselves. I do not remember the last time anyone announced they were straight, unless it was to “defend” against the perception that they are gay. Dale Scott “announcing” he is a gay man through Referee Magazine by including a picture of himself and his husband should have taken as much thought as any straight man submitting a picture of himself with his wife. Unfortunately, Scott had to decide.
I would like to see these announcements become more and more rare, and for a variety of reasons. The more openly gay men and women, who hold influential and public positions in our society, in sports, business, politics, or something else, the less news worthy this becomes. Society is moving slowly towards accepting the LGBT community. I use the word accept because ignorant people must face reality, everyone one is different. We all have different interests, different beliefs, we speak different languages, and have different skins tones. However, what makes us different is also what makes us the same, we are all equal. Period. Full stop.
There are no ifs, ands, or buts. We are all equal, and the sooner people understand and embrace this reality the sooner we as a society and as human beings can address the real struggles of life, such as feeding the hungry and caring for the sick.
I look forward to the day when there will be no need for individuals to come out. There will be no need to come out because people will love themselves and not felt the need to announce their sexual orientation, but rather to live their life how they wish. If you are gay, people will see this based upon who you kiss, date, and marry, just as people who are straight are known now based upon who they kiss, date, and marry. I did not have to announce to my parents, brother, friends, or anyone that I am straight. The thought never crossed my mind. They all figured it out, why should this be any different if I were gay? I look forward to the day when no one has to come out. Society should not care who you pursue or who you go home to at night. Rather society should focus on the good you do for those around you. That will be a great day.
Just as Dale Scott was beginning his career in the Majors, Dave Pallone lost his dream after he was outed in an article in the New York Post. Pallone’s career should have continued for many years to come. Unfortunately his most memorable moment on the field was an argument and confrontation with Pete Rose in 1988, which led to Rose pushing Pallone. There should have been many more years of umpiring All Start games and World Series game; instead Pallone was out of baseball by the end of the year, after being forced to resign. Baseball and society have come a long way between Pallone and Scott. Enough of the prodigious which ended Pallone’s career seems to have dissipated with Scott’s announcement.
Scott spoke with Outsports.com about coming out:
“I realized that it could open a Pandora’s Box, but this is not a surprise to Major League Baseball, the people I work for. It’s not a surprise to the umpire staff. Until Mike and I got married last November, he was my same-sex domestic partner and had his own MLB I.D. and was on my insurance policy.”
“This is not going to be some huge flashing news to Park Avenue [MLB headquarters]…It’s not a shock to MLB management because they’re well aware of my situation and it’s not a shock to the umpire staff. If it would have been, I don’t think I would have done it.”
Privately it seems Dale Scott was able to be the man he is; this reflects well on the progress Major League Baseball and society as a whole have made in the last 26 years since Dave Pallone was run out of baseball. Scott is judged solely by the quality of his work, nothing else. This is how it should be.
Dale Scott made a decision, a decision that I never had to make. He had to hide a part of himself due to the opinions and beliefs of people in our society and in baseball. Personally, I am happy the opinions and beliefs that cost Dave Pallone his career have done a complete reversal and have turn hate into support for Dale Scott. Whether he is a Major League Umpire, a player, a coach, a broadcaster, or any other type of professional, Dale Scott should only be judged upon the work he does and how well he does it. The march towards equality goes on and Dale Scott, along with much of the baseball community, has publicly shown the difference time can make. 26 years is a long time. It is a shame being who he is cost Dave Pallone his career. However, his efforts to promote equality continue and have in a small way manifested themselves in the reaction and the openness with which baseball has embraced Dale Scott. This is the best news of all.