(This story was published in April 2003).
Yet another pitcher in Major League Baseball has a problem with gay people.
Todd Jones, a relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, had some choice words for the Denver Post after a reporter asked the pitcher about the Broadway play, Take Me Out, in which a professional baseball player comes out of the closet.
"I wouldn't want a gay guy being around me," Jones told the Denver Post.
"It's got nothing to do with me being scared. That's the problem: All these people say he's got all these rights. Yeah, he's got rights or whatever, but he shouldn't walk around proud. It's like he's rubbing it in our face. 'See me, Hear me roar.' We're not trying to be close-minded, but then again, why be confrontational when you don't really have to be?"
He went on to say that "Because if (the team) thinks for one minute he's disrupting the clubhouse -- if he doesn't hit 50 homers or win 20 games -- they're not going to put up with that."
The Colorado Rockies issued a statement regarding Jones' comments: "The unfortunate comments made by pitcher Todd Jones and published in today's Denver Post in no way reflect the views, opinions, or attitudes of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club."
Team president Keli McGregor said in the statement: "As an organization and as a part of this community, we are committed to providing an environment for our employees and fans that is free of discrimination and prejudice, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national orientation, age, disability, or status as a veteran."
In contrast to Jones' comments, longtime star Mark Grace was more supportive.
Grace, 38, told the Denver Post that most ballplayers are less threatened by the idea of a gay teammate. "I've played for 16 years, and I'm sure I've had homosexual teammates that I didn't know about," he said. "If one out of six or seven men are homosexual - do the math."
Any problem, Grace told the Post, would manifest itself not so much in the field but in the locker room and in the showers --where the majority of 'Take Me Out' takes place.
"I think the perception in the clubhouse would be one of, for lack of a better word - fear," Grace said. "Fear that they'd be stared at or (that a gay player might fall) in love with them. But I think if you're intelligent at all, you'd understand that homosexuals are just like us. They don't think everybody's attractive. Just because this guy's homosexual doesn't mean he's attracted to me."