The MLB Postseason Begins

Our friend Skye is a huge professional baseball fan and has found the sport growing and becoming focused on equality. It’s officially the postseason. Here’s his thoughts.

I came to love baseball only a few years ago, but already I have discovered the savor of a good game.  Like a fine wine, it ismany years of careful work in the making. Major League Baseball players are required to display agility, reflexes, and speed far beyond the ordinary.  Their talents are developed and nurtured by scouts and coaches whose names are rarely spoken. And like the vineyard grape, baseball comes to its full fruit in the autumn, the season for the MLB playoffs.

This October, I personally will have the pleasure of cheering on my American idols, the Chicago Cubs.  When I’m with other Cubs fans, no matter how far from Chicago, I feel a profound sense of belonging.  Sometimes the LGBT community can’t supply all our need for human connection or purpose in life, but neither is being alone with our emotions really that satisfying.  That’s where watching the Cub’s Willson Contreras launch a 111-mile-per-hour home run with a bunch of people wearing blue, gaping in joy and awe, comes in. That’s where you also might start getting emotional watching Cub’s Anthony Rizzo wave to the crowd after the Parkland, Florida shooting as he was a student at that school.

To some, baseball has this reputation for catering to old straight white men and for stodgy refusal to change with the times.  As I watch more and more of it, though (including going to see my local minor league team, the Madison Mallards, this summer), I see that the culture surrounding the game is in flux. More and more teams have Pride Days to celebrate equality. The Red Sox even banned someone from Fenway Park for life this year for racist taunts. The sport has definitely left behind men like John Rocker, infamous mouth-runner of the Atlanta Braves circa 2000. It is exciting for me as a gay man in my thirties to watch this change unfold, and tantalizing to think about when the first openly gay player will appear in a Major League uniform.

Skye Winspur