MLB umpire Dale Scott has publicly shared that he’s gay—baseball will endure and adapt.
“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.”
~ Terence Mann, Field of Dreams
As the movie quote above states, the traditions and heritage of baseball have stood for decades in this country, and they will continue to do so.
In fact, the greatest strength of baseball is perhaps its enduring history; however, great strengths tend to also be great weaknesses.
Much has been made by commentators and observers that baseball’s stodgy past has led to the sports declining television ratings over the years; contributed to the fact that it has the oldest average-aged fan base of any professional sport in America; as well as its acquiescence to purists regarding issues such as game pacing and its glacial adoption of instant replay.
While Scott’s announcement won’t fix any of those enduring issues in baseball—it clearly suggests that baseball can adapt and that it needs to adapt.
Once the season starts, there may be some unfortunate name-calling and language directed at Scott when he makes a call that fans disagree with—but that comes with the job of being an umpire.
Scott has made a conscious, public decision to endure and adapt to those types of reactions.
Oddly, there has been some noise as to why Scott came out in such a low-profile manner during the final weeks of the NFL season—as opposed to the start of the baseball season—as if his decision was a squandered opportunity to promote GLBT issues.
These assertions are ridiculous.
As a semi-public figure, Scott made a decision to publicly share a part of his personal life. Regardless of his motivation, reasoning or timing—it’s completely up to him (or anybody else in a similar situation) to choose how, why and when to disclose such intimate details.
As such, critics will have to endure and adapt
The reality is that the day is soon coming when such announcements by athletes, referees and front office personnel won’t be covered by sports media at all.
Baseball and its fans will have to adapt to that truth to ensure the sport continues to endure.
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