2020 has been a year for the history books in the world of Major League Baseball -- and I'm not talking about the half-season filled with creepy cardboard cutout fans and scenes aptly described by Twitter user @TSN_Marsh as " ... a dystopian hell scape ..."
No, reader, I am talking about a different first -- the 2020 MLB season marks the first time players have not been recorded using anti-LGBTQAI+ slurs on the field since 2016. Good job not being total garbage, baseball men?
According to a story from NPR earlier this year, the baseball league has a history with homophobia, according to Ginny Searle, the associate editor at Baseball Prospectus and self described "baseball anarchist." In 2017, former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, Kevin Pillar dropped an anti-LGBTQAI+ slur during a game. The following year, players from The Milwaukee Brewers, the Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Nationals came under fire after old homophobic tweets resurfaced. In 2019, George Springer of the Astros was suspended for using an anti-gay slur towards an umpire.
Despite efforts including hosting pride nights during regular seasons, this type of behavior still hurts members of the LGBTQAI+ community and has a tangible impact on some MLB players. In 2015, St. Louis Cardinals player, Tyler Dunnington, who is openly gay, retired early, citing the homophobia he experienced throughout his time in the MLB as a part of what influenced his decision.
"I was also one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved," Dunnington told Outsports.com via email. "I was able to take most of it with a grain of salt but towards the end of my career I could tell it was affecting my relationships with people, my performance, and my overall happiness."
The players may have done their part this year, avoiding using harmful language regarding members of the LGBTQAI+ community, but there was one mishap earlier in the season, where a longtime announcer for the Cincinnati Reds was suspended, and ultimately resigned after using a homophobic slur on a hot mic while calling a game. Oof.
It only took a global pandemic, a half-season, and a mishap from a broadcast announcer for you to not say something really not cool about the LGBTQAI+ community, but you did it. We knew you had it in you.
Top Image: Twitter.