Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-04-12 09:42
by Alex Belth


I don't want to make a federal case out of this, but it's always seemed apparent to me that Roberto Alomar is gay---even before he came to the Mets. It's an observation that is based completely on my own gut instinct, nothing more. I'm not bringing it up because I want to seem sensationalistic or because I have a moral judgement about it one way or the other. But when I read Rafael Hermoso's article on Alomar's mother in Friday's New York Times, the amatuer psychologist in me just couldn't resist bringing this up once again.

Robbie, the baby of the Alomar family, and is uncommonly close to his mother. Does that make him Gay? I suppose not, but it's a good place to start. Witness:

"I had a bad season because you didn't cook for me," [Alomar's mother,] Velasquez recalled him saying. She laughed and then stopped. "I know it hurt him last year that I wasn't there for him,'' she said. "He relaxes me, and I relax him. He's single. Sandy is married and has someone to talk to."

...Velasquez says she thinks her son was a bit lonely last season, living in a Long Island City apartment. His girlfriend then, the tennis player Mary Pierce, was traveling and treating a sports injury. He has since been linked romantically with the Puerto Rican singer Gisselle, and Velasquez said they were good friends.

...Alomar, the youngest of the three children, is private and guarded and discusses little of his personal life, but he spoke unabashedly of his mother in an interview at Shea on Sunday. Roberto and his mother call each other best friends and speak nearly every day.

"She's the one reason I'm doing what I'm doing," Alomar said. "People ask me about Mother's Day. Mother's Day is every day for me."

...Velasquez has grown to love baseball, although it has kept her family separated. Sandy Jr. pursued motocross, surfing and tae kwon do. Roberto cared only about baseball. He stubbornly told his mother he could go to college after his playing career and shrugged off his parents' warnings about the hard life of a player.

"I know when he's sad," Velasquez said. "I know when he's happy, when something's bothering him inside and we talk. I never tell him what to do, because he knows what to do. He asked for help. 'Mami, I need your support.' He's always been like that since he was a child."

I dont' think Alomar has the kind of personality to be the first star ballplayer to come out of the closet. That's fine. I sure don't think any less of him cause I think he's Queer either (actually it kind of makes me like him more, especially since I hear Rickey Riccardo's voice every time I see him play). That kind of thing doesn't matter much to me, and certainly not how I regard a specific player. The question of sexuality does however remain a huge bug-a-boo in professional sports. But I'm still surprised that Michael Piazza was the only member of the Amazins clubhouse last year who was targeted as "The Gay Met." I felt like saying, "Am I crazy, or does Robbie have something on the entire New York media which is preventing them from breaking this story?"

Maybe it's a story that isn't ready to be broken yet. Perhaps the taboo of one's sexual orientation is the last place sports writers care to venture. Still, part of me can't help but wonder if there are just too many boys in a place like New York to keep Robbie's focus completely on the field.

Maybe we should ask him mother.

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