Errors and grand slams
Published Thursday, 07-Jul-2005 in issue 915
Some people find baseball fascinating. They’re riveted by the details, like whether the southpaw pitcher will throw the righty batter a change-up or a fastball, with a runner on first in the sixth inning of a night game when the roof is closed and Mercury is in Virgo.
I pay attention to the nuances too – but not of the game. I track the forward and backward steps major league baseball takes toward accepting gays. And recently there have been several steps leaving imprints in the base paths.
To me, RBI stands not for runs batted in but for remarks basically idiotic. The latest offering comes from Chicago White Sox player Carl Everett. While he said he has accepted homosexual teammates, he also told Maxim, “Gays being gay is wrong. Two women can’t produce a baby, two men can’t produce a baby, so it’s not how it’s supposed to be … I don’t believe in gay marriages. I don’t believe in being gay.”
Everett is the team’s designated hitter. He isn’t, I trust, the team’s designated thinker.
The White Sox front office appears to be at pains to suggest he isn’t. Spokesperson Katie Kirby told the PlanetOut Network that Everett is a blunt-speaking fellow whose views aren’t shared by the organization, “because as an organization we embrace all sorts of fans, all genders, all orientations.” She noted that Everett has declared he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs since they don’t appear in the Bible.
I’ve decided not to believe in Everett. He doesn’t exist. His view on gayness isn’t what it’s supposed to be, so I don’t believe in him. Plus, he isn’t in the Bible.
Or, to mangle the philosophical credo, he doesn’t think, therefore he ain’t.
Cyd Ziegler Jr., co-founder of outsports.com, noted, “Gays in sports is becoming the hottest topic in sports. So you’re going to see more and more people talking about this, because more and more reporters are asking this sort of thing.” Which means there will be plenty more RBIs in the months and years ahead, as baseball players are essentially invited to put their cleats in their mouths.
But not all seize the opportunity. Ziegler lamented that when players like Johnny Damon and Ken Griffey Jr. say they’d be fine with a gay teammate, “these comments don’t get the press that the negative comments get.” Drat those boring enlightened comments.
Damon was part of a step forward when he and some of his Red Sox mates put themselves in the hands of the “Queer Eye” guys in a recent episode. The Sox had defeated the powerful Yankees and the mighty Curse of the Bambino to capture the World Series in 2004. After that, facing Kyan with tweezers in his hand couldn’t have been too scary.
Around Mother’s Day I read of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Joe Valentine having gone public about having two mothers. “It was something I tried to do for my parents and for the gay community,” he said. “They’re a huge part of the population.” Ooh, ouch. That’s a line drive to the gut for pro ball’s homophobic reputation.
Two mothers raise a boy who becomes a baseball player. How all-American can you get? If he said his favorite dessert is apple pie, I wouldn’t believe him.
Valentine’s moms have been together 30 years. “I feel in my heart they did a great job with me, and I thought it would be nice to just have them see that I appreciated it,” he said. From Fire Island to the Castro, can there be a dry eye?