Daniel Murphy Getty

Daniel Murphy on Billy Bean: “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual”

394 Comments

Baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion, Billy Bean was the first ballplayer to come out of the closet and declare the fact of his homosexuality after his playing career ended in the 1990s. Last year, Major League Baseball made Bean its “ambassador for inclusion,” with the mission of providing guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community throughout Major League Baseball.

As part of that mission, Bean — like any other number of dignitaries, ambassadors, special instructors, speakers and the like — is visiting with teams this spring. Some teams, such as a the Mets, have asked Bean to actually suit up in uniform during his day with the team. That happened yesterday down in Port St. Lucie.

Mets’ infielder Daniel Murphy’s comments about that happened as well:

“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Murphy said. “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”

 

Murphy went on:

“We love the people. We disagree the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me. It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.”

There are certainly notes in Murphy’s comments which suggest compassion and which clearly reveal that his feelings are not that of a stereotypical homophobe. Murphy is certainly not going to bash Bean or hurl any epithets at the guy. But there is no escaping the fact that that the terms in which he couches his feelings about all of this are representative of the sort of mindset, whether it’s based in his own Christianity or, coming from another person might be based in something else, which has led to the discrimination, hate and marginalization of homosexuals throughout history.

“Disagreeing” with Bean or anyone else’s homosexuality is nonsensical. It’s not an opinion. It’s not a philosophy, political position, choice or a world view. It’s a fact. It’s part of who Bean is as a person. To say one “disagrees” with Bean’s homosexuality is no more coherent than saying one “disagrees” with Murphy’s left-handedness. Or with Murphy’s heterosexuality for that matter. Who would ever say they “disagreed” with Murphy’s heterosexuality? What would we think of a person who said that?

And then there is the classic “hate the sin, not the sinner” rhetoric. The “I’m trying to surrender aspects of my life to Christ” stuff which — again, while certainly something Murphy sincerely thinks of as admirable and generous — are words often used to describe bad behavior. You hear that about drug use and alcoholism. You hear it from people who commit crimes or who abuse spouses and children but who later find God. It’s a sentiment which I believe Murphy truly thinks of as compassion and love. But it’s also the case that the root of that very stance — that homosexuality is a sin — is what has given society cover to discriminate against homosexuality throughout history and to continue to do that to this day. It’s also what has led to untold amounts of violence and hatred against homosexuals because, well, not all religious thought agrees with Murphy’s views about compassion towards sinners.

There will be a lot of people getting on Murphy’s case today. When they do, there will be a lot of people offering some variation of “hey, it’s just his opinion, man.” Murphy is merely speaking his mind (as we sportswriters all wish more athletes would), and how dare we jump on a guy for merely saying how he feels? A more specific version of that response is to say that Murphy is entitled to his own religious convictions, and that we shouldn’t criticize a guy for them, even if we personally “disagree.”

I reject such a defense. Even if his religion has taught him that homosexuality is wrong, and even if one thinks Murphy has the absolute right, as a citizen, to say what he wants about it (which he certainly does), there is no escaping the fact that such comments are ignorant. That they, however politely put, serve to marginalize a great many people. That they, when taken to their logical extreme, encourage and/or give cover for bigotry and violence and hatred.

Given that Murphy does not appear to have any animus about him in his comments makes it safe to say that he doesn’t necessarily realize that. But the fact that he does not realize that shows you just how essential Billy Bean’s message in his new role — that its important to support LGBT persons in the baseball community — really is.

UPDATE: Bean responds to Murphy’s comments.

Pete Rose added to Reds’ Hall of Fame in long-awaited moment

peterosewave
Getty Images
7 Comments

CINCINNATI — Pete Rose joked about his hair and his age. He reminisced about all those wins with the Big Red Machine. There was one thing that the hits king was determined not to do when he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Fame.

“I’ve already cried on the field one time,” Rose said on Saturday, referring to the time he got his record-setting hit. “That’s enough.”

The 75-year-old Rose kept his composure during a pregame ceremony honoring him as the 86th player to go into the team’s hall. Many of his former Big Red Machine teammates – Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Tony Perez, among them – were on hand to join in the humor and the honor.

Also, to say a few nice things about the Cincinnati native known as Charlie Hustle who became the face of baseball’s first professional team in so many ways, with his gritty play and, later, his lifetime ban for betting on Reds games. His ban prevents him from getting into Cooperstown, but the Reds got permission to honor him in their own way.

“He’s the most dissatisfied person I’ve ever known,” Bench said. “Every day he was unhappy until he got four hits. He was never, ever happy with three hits. He wanted four.

“The greatness of this man was that he was never satisfied.”

Rose set baseball’s hits record with No. 4,192 at Riverfront Stadium in 1985 against the Padres, who also were the Reds’ opponent on Saturday. When he reached first base on his single, he wound up crying during a nine-minute ovation from the fans. As he was introduced at Great American Ball Park on Saturday, fans chanted, “Pete! Pete!” and gave him a one-minute ovation.

When he got to the podium, Rose used a towel to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He noted that he was allotted only five minutes to talk, when he could spend days recounting what the fans meant to him.

“I was hitting for you,” Rose said. “I was trying to score runs for you.”

Rose joked that he’s attended Hall of Fame inductions, but this was the first time he’d been invited to one. He told the fans that it was the “biggest thing that’s ever happened to me in baseball.”

Then he and Perez and Bench went onto the field. Perez threw a pitch from in front of the mound with Rose in the left-handed batter’s box and Bench behind the plate. The pitch was outside. Rose took it.

And then he got another ovation. The start of the game was delayed by six minutes because the ceremony went long.

Cincinnati natives Barry Larkin and Ron Oester also are in the team’s hall and recognized the specialness of being honored by the team they grew up admiring.

“Anytime you’re honored by getting inducted into the hall of anything, I think it’s wonderful,” said Larkin, who was inducted at Cooperstown in 2012. “But being inducted into a hall of fame for your hometown team, it’s personal.”

During a media availability that was streamed live on the Great American Ball Park videoboard and Major League Baseball’s website, Rose and his former teammates enjoyed the chance to trade barbs as well as compliments.

Bench said that by adding Rose to the team’s Hall of Fame, “It’s kind of complete.”

Rose wore a plaid shirt and a white Reds cap to the media availability and the on-field ceremony. He won’t get a red jacket like the ones that the other Reds Hall of Fame members wear until Sunday, when the Reds formally retire his No. 14 as well.

“It took 30 years and the size has changed over the years,” Rose said. “But I’m getting a red coat. I’m looking forward to getting a red coat.”

Struggling Conforto demoted by N.Y. Mets, Nimmo called up

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19:  Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets looks on after flying out to end the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on June 19, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Getty Images
5 Comments

Michael Conforto has learned a harsh lesson about life in majors: There’s a limit to patience.

The New York Mets have demoted the 23-year-old outfielder to the team’s Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas to bring up another promising player in Brandon Nimmo. Conforto’s left-field spot will be filled by his promoted replacement.

Both players were former first-rounders by the Mets with Nimmo being drafted out of high school in 2011 and Conforto getting selected in 2014 out of  Oregon State University.

The move comes as a surprise considering how strongly Conforto started with the Mets this season and how he finished the 2015 regular season. In April, he appeared to be headed towards a breakout season, hitting .365 with four homers and 18 RBIs and at one point was hitting No. 3 in the batting order. Yet, his hitting took a dramatic dip since that month, hitting just .107 over his last 25 games. The N.Y. Daily News reported that the team was concerned that the player was too focused on the long ball.

“I see an uphill swing,” one Mets official told the N.Y. Daily News when asked about what Conforto has been doing wrong. “He’s trying to hit home runs all the time. He needs to use the whole field.”

The paper also reported that the Mets were concerned about Conforto confidence because of the demotion but with the team still in the race for both the NL East and the NL Wild Card, it couldn’t afford to wait any longer to determine if he could rebound.

Nimmo was Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson’s first draft pick as manager of the team and while he initially struggled in the minors, he’s had a strong start to this year in Triple-A, batting .328 with a .409 OBP, five homers and 37 RBIs in 63 games.

 

Jose Reyes returning to the New York Mets

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07:  Jose Reyes #7 of the Colorado Rockies fields a ground ball during batting practice before a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 7, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Getty Images
20 Comments

Update (2:22 p.m. ET): The N.Y. Mets have officially announced the signing of Jose Reyes

It’s full circle for Jose Reyes.

On Saturday, the New York Mets signed the 33-year-old shortstop, who originally started his career with the club after signing as a teenager from the Dominican Republic in 1999. In his first stint, he spent 12 years with the team and won the National League batting title with the Mets in 2011, hitting .337 and made all of his four All-Star appearances. The move comes out of recent controversial circumstances by Reyes as he was arrested on Oct. 31 after a physical altercation with his wife at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, Hawaii.

Major League Baseball suspended Reyes without pay for his actions through May 31, resulting in him forfeiting $6.25 million. He addressed his actions in a statement in May.

“I want to apologize for everything that has happened,” Reyes stated. “I am sorry to the Rockies organization, my teammates, all the fans and most of all my family. I am happy to put this all in the past and get back to doing what I love most, playing baseball. My wife Katherine has remained by my side throughout everything and for that I will be forever grateful.”

After his suspension, Reyes appeared in nine games for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate Albuquerque, hitting .303 with 2 home runs, 2 RBIs and 2 SBs. With the emergence of current starting shortstop, Trevor Story, the Rockies tried to trade Reyes. The Dominican player has declined in the past several seasons since leaving the Mets and combined with his recent issues, there wasn’t any interest. Yet, once the team decided to designate him for assignment, with the Rockies footing the bill for the remaining $39 million of his contract, the Mets became interested due to some recent personnel issues.

“At the end of the day, we felt that it was best that we part ways — best for the direction of the organization, best for what was going on in the clubhouse and best for Jose,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said last week.

With Mets star third baseman David Wright out indefinitely with a neck injury, the team has struggled offensively and has lacked speed on the bases. ESPN reports that Reyes won’t take Asdrubal Cabrera‘s starting job as shortstop, but will back him up and fill in at second and third base when needed. Team manager Terry Collins, who managed Reyes in 2011, remembers the player’s time at the club fondly.

“One of the things that probably caught my imagination was his joy of playing in New York. He loved it. That’s why he moved there. He loved being there. He loved playing in New York. It’s a tough place, because you’re going to have some bad times and some bad days. But he always had a smile. And when he didn’t, something was wrong, and you knew it. And that was the easiest kind of way to judge that it’s time for a day off.

“In my time around him, he was a joy to be around.”

 

What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s action

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 13:  Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twinsat Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 13, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

Welcome to the weekend, y’all. A full slate of games tonight including a couple of dudes making debuts for new clubs: Nick Tepesch for the Dodgers and Wade LeBlanc for the Mariners. Tommy Milone has been recalled by the Twins and will make his first big league appearance since May 3. Cody Reed of the Reds, in contrast, is a seasoned pro, making his second big league start.

On the older end of the spectrum is Max Scherzer, going in Milwaukee. The last time he pitched there he struck out 16 dues and retired the first 18 batters he faced. He’s facing a young man in Zach Davies, however, who has done some very special things himself in his short time in the bigs, particularly lately. Meanwhile, Jered Weaver is coming off of his best start of the season: a three-hit shutout in Oakland in which he needed only 95 pitches. He only struck out one dude in that game and his fastball can barely break glass, so he must’ve O.D.’d on the gumption and savvy pills. Why those are legal while PEDs are not I have no idea, but I suppose he’d be grandfathered in if they banned them anyway.

Enjoy your Friday night.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Nick Tepesch) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Jameson Taillon), 7:05 PM EDT, PNC Park

Minnesota Twins (Tommy Milone) @ New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Moore) @ Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo), 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT, Marlins Park

Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar) @ Detroit Tigers (Jordan Zimmermann), 7:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

San Diego Padres (Colin Rea) @ Cincinnati Reds (Cody Reed), 7:10 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

New York Mets (Steven Matz) @ Atlanta Braves (Aaron Blair), 7:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ Texas Rangers (Nick Martinez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington

Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) @ Chicago White Sox (Carlos Rodon), 8:10 PM EDT, U.S. Cellular Field

Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Colorado Rockies (Tyler Anderson), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

Oakland Athletics (Eric Surkamp) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ Seattle Mariners (Wade LeBlanc), 10:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

Philadelphia Phillies (Zach Eflin) @ San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy), 10:15 PM EDT, AT&T Park