The Glenn Burke documentary airs tonight

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Glenn Burke was the first and, as far as we know, the only gay player to be out of the closet to his teammates and team ownership during his major league career.  Burke and many believed that he was run out of the league because of it.  It’s also possible that he was pushed out for the simple fact that his performance didn’t justify a place for him on a major league roster. Or it could have been a combination of the two. As Bouton and many others pointed out, you can be unique in a major league clubhouse and no one will care as long as you’re good. But if you’re unique and you stink, however, you probably will get way less slack than equally-stinky players.

But whatever the circumstances of Burke’s departure from the league, his place in history is undeniable. Regretfully so, to the extent that he’s famous for being one of a kind.  There have been over 6,000 players who have cycled through the big leagues since Burke left. The odds that none of them save Bill Bean (who came out after his career was over) were gay are more or less impossible.  Gay ballplayers besides those two have won and lost games, hit home runs and made dumbass errors, have spouted cliches to sportswriters and have reported to camp “in the best shape of their lives.”  It’s a pity that society is such that they have not felt free to step out of the closet and be themselves like every other ballplayer is allowed to be. We’re not going to get over that hump any time soon, I fear.

But we can examine the life of Glenn Burke, as a documentary about him — “Out. The Glenn Burke Story” — airs tonight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area at 8 P.M. Pacific.  If you’re not in the Bay Area you can watch it on DirecTV (Sports Pack Channel 696) and the Dish Network (Multi-Sports Package Channel 419).

I don’t know if the documentary will be any good, but the story is an important and a compelling one, however told.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.