June will be a busy month for Dale Scott, for 30 years a Major League Baseball umpire and someone who came out openly as gay in 2014.
Scott, now retired, will throw out the first pitch prior to the LGBT Pride night of the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8 and the Baltimore Orioles June 27. He will also ride on Major League Baseball’s float at the June New York City June 24 Pride march.
“I’m a little nervous,” Scott told Outsports. “After all, one of the reasons I started umpiring at age 15 is because I couldn’t throw, hit, field or run.”
Turning serious, Scott — who splits time between Portland, Oregon, and Palm Springs with husband Michael Rausch — reflected on the honor of being part of the Pride festivities.
“It’s definitely an honor, not only to recognize our community with Pride nights but also recognize someone who spent 37 years in professional baseball, in a occupation that involves a lot of scrutiny.
“It’s an important job upholding the integrity and fair play of the sport and being a gay man isn’t a barrier to performing that job at a high level. That’s why being out there is so important.”
Fellow umpires and MLB officials long knew Scott was gay. But it wasn’t until a December 2014 article in Outsports that Scott discussed it publicly. He was blown away by the impact his story had, especially by the hundreds of email messages he received.
“Officials of all sports all throughout the country and the world messaged me that they thought being gay would prevent them from ever pursuing their dreams and the level of officiating they are trying to achieve,” he said. “As more than one person has told me, I may not make it to the Major Leagues because of my ability but I certainly won’t be barred because of my sexuality and who I am.”
Like anyone asked to throw out a first pitch, Scott is nervous about having an errant toss go viral. He recently told his 9-year-old nephew that they needed to play catch so he could can practice.”
As word of his debut on the mound has spread, Scott says he has “been ribbed several times about not bouncing it or throwing it up against the backstop.”
“Quite frankly, I’m not extremely confident that I won’t do one or the other!”