It seems to me an openly gay ballplayer can't be too far into the future. A team with young players, like Cleveland, may be the right place for the first homosexual ballplayer. After all, these young men have grown up in a much more tolerant society than I did (I was born in 1960), and may not think it's such a big deal.
Last year, Buster Olney shared his feelings about this subject with me:
It's interesting cause when I covered the Padres Billy Bean was on the that team...I really believe that if any team would have been able to handle that situation, it would have been that team. Because the best player, Tony Gwynn, is a very tolerant person, he's very broad-minded. It was a very young team, that had stripped it down and they had all these young players, and Billy was very well liked. Some of the other leaders on the team like [Brad] Ausmus, were very bright guys. Trevor Hoffman, very accepting personality. If it was going to work, it would've worked on that team. But there is no doubt veteran teams like the Yankees I covered, or the Mets now: no chance. There is no chance.
The young Indians have more in common with that Padres team than they do with the big market squads in New York:
If he pitches well during spring training, Tadano could win a spot in Cleveland's bullpen. Whenever he joins the Indians, pitcher C.C. Sabathia says Tadano will be welcomed.
"This is the right team and the right organization for him," Sabathia said. "We have good guys here. Everybody has done something that they regret in their lives. He's a person just like everyone else."
Homosexuality is one of the last great taboos in American team sports. Let's hope it doesn't remain that way for too much longer.