When longtime Major League Umpire Dale Scott came out publicly as gay in December, he never expected this tweet from former pitcher Curt Schilling:
"It shocked the hell out of me," Scott told Outsports this month when he recounted the reaction to his coming out. "He was a miserable guy to work. I read that and thought I was being punked. I swear, there would be certain guys that if somebody said, 'Hey, did you hear what Schilling tweeted?' I would have said, 'Oh God. Let me brace myself because I bet it's not good.' He was not a treat to be around."
Major League Baseball umpire comes out
A photo with his husband in a small magazine was his first public acknowledgment. "I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else," he says.
Make no mistake -- Scott very much appreciated Schilling's tweet and it was indicative of how accepting people in the sport were of Scott and his public disclosure. Schilling pitched for 20 years, most notably with the Phillies and Red Sox, and Scott was an umpire that entire time. Whatever battles the two had on the field are long over, but that still didn't prepare Scott for the positive response.
"It blew me away," Scott said. "If somebody said name five players you would hate to hear what they would tweet out, he would be on that list. You can see how wrong I was on that."
Scott is in Arizona for his first spring training as publicly out gay man. He starts his 30th season as an umpire and said he expects no problems because of his sexual orientation. And if there are any, he is prepared to deal with them.
"I get asked all the time about do you think players or managers of fans [will say anything negative.]," Scott said. "If they're uniformed personnel I will deal with that the way I deal with any argument or situation. If they say something they're not supposed to say, I'll eject them. That's how it works. Fans, I have no control of but quite frankly, they're gonna do what they're gonna do."