Frigid as the Northeast was this past winter, Bloomberg News tells us this was actually the planet’s hottest start to a year of any on record — with an animated chart and everything. (Marco Rubio tells us the climate’s changing — it’s always changing — but there’s nothing we should be doing about it. His view is neatly analyzed here.)
My pal Billy Bean — Major League Baseball’s inclusion ambassador and author of Going the Other Way — wrote this for Time last week. Can he really be one of just two major league baseball players in the last 146 years to acknowledge (after retiring) that they were gay? In part:
Jackie Robinson’s Lesson for Baseball Today
. . . As a closeted player, I was consumed with fear that my fellow players would find out about me. I was living a completely secretive life. The sudden death of my partner on the eve of my last season in 1995 was the beginning of the end of my playing career. I walked out of the hospital at 7 a.m. with his clothes in a plastic bag, the only evidence of a three-year relationship. I was in a state of shock until I realized that I needed to be at Angel Stadium in less than four hours. I drove home, showered, and, like always, I went to work. However, a part of me died that day with Sam, and not believing I could talk to anyone about it was my greatest mistake. I remember writing his name on the inside of my cap, hoping for strength to get through that game.
. . .This past November, I was asked to speak to all 30 general managers at their annual offseason meeting. A dialogue was created that resulted in invitations from 16 different organizations. On Feb. 27 I began a journey around the country, making early morning presentations, sharing my personal story and talking about leadership, responsibility, and the message of acceptance to big-league clubs. I suited up and threw batting practice with the Mets, Tigers, and Phillies. I spoke to entire minor league systems, met with coaching staffs, front office personnel, and watched games with general managers.
. . . Baseball asked me to lead this conversation, and I knew that this is where it really starts – with our players. For me it’s simple: The message of inclusion will save lives. An accepting example from our players can influence today’s youth and turn bullies into leaders who take care of their teammates and classmates instead of discriminate, ridicule, or perpetuate hate against them.
. . . After my long road trip this spring, I began to reflect on my return to the game and the irony of being back in baseball for exactly the same reason I walked away from it. Baseball changed the world 68 years ago, and in honor of its great history and its vision of the future, we are sending a message that is loud and clear: “Everyone is welcome.” How cool is that?
It is very cool. And deeply American.