While there has yet to be an out Major League Baseball player, MLB umpire Dale Scott has come out of the closet and publicly announced he is gay.
Scott’s announcement was quietly made after he gave a photo with his longtime partner to a November interview with Referee Magazine.
“I realized that it could open a Pandora’s Box,” the referee of 29 years said. “But this is not a surprise to Major League Baseball, the people I work for. It’s not a surprise to the umpire staff. Until Mike and I got married last November, he was my same-sex domestic partner and had his own MLB I.D. and was on my insurance policy.”
Scott met his partner, Mike Rausch, in October after his first year in the big leagues. When doing the interview about his career, he felt like he couldn’t leave such a big part of his story out.
“Obviously, when I sent that picture to Jeff, I knew exactly what it meant. In a small way, this was opening that door in a publication that wasn’t going to be circulated nationwide,” he said. “It could be picked up, but it’s not Time Magazine. I made that decision to go ahead and do it because I felt it was the right thing to do.”
Scott knew his story wouldn’t shock anyone he was close to.
“If you want to write a story I can’t stop you,” he said. “I’m also not worried because I do know who I am. I think Major League Baseball has proven that it certainly isn’t an issue with them. I’ve worked three World Series; I’ve worked the playoffs consistently; I’ve been a crew chief for 12 years. Obviously, if they had an issue with my life, it would be shown in my career.”
Scott never came out in an official statement at work, people just started to realize it after a while.
“You work with an organization for a long time and people figure it out,” he said. “It is what it is. I’ve never had any pushback from other umpires. If anything else, it’s been the opposite. It was in the late ‘90s when, unprovoked by me, some individual umpires were talking to me and said, ‘I know who you are and it doesn’t bother me and I’d walk on the field with you any time.’ It was them saying it’s all good. It was all positive.”
For the first 10 years of his career, Scott said he would have been horrified if a story about his sexuality came out. Then, in 2010, Scott was able to add Rausch as his domestic partner on his contract. It was then that he spoke out about his sexuality for the first time.
Scott, who married Rausch in November after a 27-year engagement, splits his time between Portland and Palm Springs. He will start his 30th season in the spring and expects to keep umping for three more years.
“I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else,” he said. “And that’s the way it should be.”