(Busch Stadium) To be fair, there have been a few theme nights over the years that have worked their way into the conversation either in the clubhouse or media scrums in the dugout–asking players or coaches who their favorite Star Wars character is, etc.
But before tonight’s game, which is Pride Night at the ballpark, St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak was asked the following by a reporter from OutSports…
“John, how do you indentify your gender and sexuality?”
“How do I? Well, I guess I’m a boy or a man and I would consider myself heterosexual,” responded Mozeliak.
The subject nature was not a complete surprise given theme night–plus, Mozeliak had brought along special guest Billy Bean for the media session. Bean, a former player who is openly gay, is MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion.
Sharing that Mozeliak had reached out to him directly when he was hired three years ago, Bean offered some perspective on how he tries to counsel today’s players on issues such as inclusion.
“My main goal was to understand how to keep these conversations relatable,” said Bean. “It’s not about what we haven’t done in the past, it’s about how we move closer towards each other. We want baseball to stand for something. We just started a brand new anti-bullying prevention program, a partnership with ESPN, that we’ve been working on to take these conversations that we have in Spring Training in the clubhouses or in front offices during the year into our local schools. I am fiercely proud of that. Baseball is putting their money where their passion is and what we stand for.
“Today is a part of that whole process. There’s no mandate coming from the Commissioner in regard to what events happen in the stadiums. The Cardinals have been running a wonderful organization for well over 100 years, and they know what they’re doing and we’re here to support that. For me, every club, every manager–I’ve had incredible buy-in to the understanding that we need to help educate our players and make well-rounded citizens because the expectation is a 24-hour cycle now. It’s not just four ABs and we’ll see you tomorrow.”
Here is the portion of the media session focused on Pride Night…
photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports