Major League Baseball umpires are generally seen and not heard, and they often prefer it that way. But one of them, Dale Scott, has catapulted himself into the spotlight this week by coming out as gay.
As first reported by Outsports, Scott — who is a 29-year veteran of MLB officiating — says he decided to come out for the sake of honesty and transparency after an article was published in the subscription-only Referee magazine featuring Scott and his husband, Mike Rausch.
“My thought process was is that there’s a story about my career and how I got started in umpiring, and they’re talking to people I have known since junior high, and it didn’t seem right to have a whole story and pictures without a picture of Mike and I, someone who’s been with me through this entire process,” Scott told Outsports.
Scott is a highly respected veteran of MLB officiating, having even received kudos from former pitcher and ESPN analyst Curt Schilling. Scott and Rausch married last November. While Scott’s announcement makes the information public, Scott says he was never closeted at work.
“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,” he said.
Scott follows the precedent set in recent years by gay athletes across professional, collegiate, and amateur sports. Major League Baseball has been one of the most prominent examples of LGBT acceptance in professional sports as of late, particularly with the naming of Billy Bean as its ambassador of inclusion. However, the MLB has been accused of intolerance previously, including back in the ’90s, when umpire Dave Pallone said he was fired for being gay.