Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire Dale Scott revealed in a Dec. 2 interview with OutSports.com that he is gay.
Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire Dale Scott is gay.
Scott made the revelation to OutSports.com's Jim Buzinksi on Dec. 2. Buzinski starts off by describing Scott's interests outside of baseball: The Oregon Ducks football team (which he has followed ardently since the Johnson administration), his two black labradors, history politics and documentaries.
His baseball resume isn't too shabby: Scott has been an MLB umpire for 29 years. During that span, he has worked three World Series and three All-Star Games, per Buzinski.
It is at this point when Buzinski confirms Scott is gay and has been with his husband, Michael Rausch, for 28 years (they were legally married in Nov. 2013). The OutSports.com writer says the story he wrote was Scott's way of coming out "in a very quiet and understated way."
Now that he has, he becomes the first active MLB gay umpire, Buzinski notes.
Scott tells OutSports.com his coming out shouldn't come as a surprise to Major League Baseball and his fellow umpires. He also discusses a photo of himself and Rausch seated right next to each other in an airplane on their way to the 2014 season opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia. The photo was published in an interview with Referee.com's Peter Jackell:
"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 has 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], but I also didn't want to be making some coming out story, some banner headline, because that's not how I operate. 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."
Buzinski says in his article that he reached out to Scott in late September to get a comment on the Referee.com photo, which the latter did not elaborate on. Scott did not want to stir controversy regading his sexual preference. He was also concerned the whole issue might have eventually become a distraction during the 2014 NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, which he had been officiating. Buzinski proposed that they touch base after the season is over. Scott agreed.
When time came for them to meet for the OutSports.com story, Scott didn't hold back:
"If you want to write a story, I can't stop you. I'm also not worried because I do know who I am. I think Major League Baseball has proven that it certainly isn't an issue with them. I've worked three World Series, I've worked the playoffs consistenly, I've been a crew chief for 12 years. Obviously, if they had an issue with my life, it would be shown in my career with lack of assignments.
"I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else and that's the way it should be.
"The first 10 years of my Major League umpire career, I would have been horrified if a story had come out that I was gay. But guys unprovoked started to approach me and say, 'I just want you to know that I could walk on the field with you any day, you're a great guy, a great umpire and I couldn't care less about your personal life.' Basically what they were saying without me provoking it was 'I know and I don't care.'
"That meant a lot to me because it surprised me since I had not brought it up. At first I was uncomfortable because I had spent my whole life hiding that fact from people even though I wasn't hiding it from myself or my friends."
For his part, Jackell says Scott was nearly dismissed during the 1987 MLB season, his second in the majors the worst of his 29-year career. The tipping point came on July 1 of that year, when he called a foul tip a third out in a game featuring the home team Boston Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles, who vehemently protested. The Red Sox, who thought they won the game, were eventually called back out on the field.
It was the late American League executive director of umpires, Marty Springstead, who helped Scott resuscitate his career. Since his bad year of 1987, Scott has called six league championship series and 10 division series on top of three World Series and three All-Star Games, per Referee.com.
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