NEW YORK — With NFL prospect Michael Sam’s announcement earlier this week that he is gay, the sports world is abuzz with conversations about whether leagues are ready for an openly gay player. Major League Baseball is no exception.
On Tuesday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports wrote about the results of his survey of seven Major League team presidents and general managers – including the Cubs’ Theo Epstein, Diamondbacks’ Derrick Hall and Rangers’ Jon Daniels — who all said they’d welcome a player who could contribute on the field.
Following Masahiro Tanaka’s introductory press conference at Yankee Stadium, Sporting News’ Jesse Spector asked Yankees manager Joe Girardi whether baseball is ready for an openly gay player. Girardi didn’t hesitate before he answered thoughtfully, focusing on what should be most important — ability and commitment to winning.
“Oh I think so. I think our world has adjusted to that,” Girardi said. “Obviously players want players that will help them win championships. That’s what we want. And you see that there’s a lot of different cultures that come together there’s obviously different ethnic backgrounds, different financial backgrounds. I think players just want to win. Whoever the best players are in that clubhouse, get ‘em in there.”
The hypothetical gay player at issue is not yet a reality, but recently retired Michael Young said recently that he “guarantees” he had a gay teammate during his 14-year career, spent mainly in Texas. Several former players have come out after retirement.
2014 may bring the sports world its first openly gay NFL player. Will the same be true in MLB? The league appears to be ready.