Wednesday, May 04, 2005

 

Of course, they didn't care too much that it was called baseball...

I wonder what he thought of the "little bats" he found in Mommy's nightstand…
Mom's the word
Deer Park product Valentine proud of his special relationship


BY JEFF PEARLMAN
STAFF CORRESPONDENT

SARASOTA, Fla. - Within the four walls of the major league clubhouse, the concept of homosexuality fits about as comfortably as a pair of mittens on a porcupine. For the most part, men who love men and women who love women are not gays or lesbians, but "queers" and "dykes." Trip over a mitt and you're a "faggot." As for ideas of civil unions and gay marriage - forget about it.

"Baseball is very set in its ways," Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jacob Cruz said. "Always has been."

Within these confines, there is a man who seems to hover above it all. He is a 25-year-old righthanded relief pitcher with the Reds, a quiet Long Island kid with blazing brown eyes and a blazing 95-mph fastball. He is as open as he needs to be, not afraid to tell the truth about his family but aware that its implications might not sit perfectly with the 40 or so other young men who surrounded him recently in the Reds' spring training clubhouse.

"I'm a blue-state guy in a red-state sport," Joe Valentine said. "But that won't stop me from being proud of who I am."

Who is Joe Valentine?

He is a 1997 graduate of Deer Park High School.

He is a former All-American at Jefferson Davis Community College in Alabama.

He is a happily married North Babylon resident who wants to start a family.

He is a potential future closer for the Reds.

One more thing. Consider the following dialogue, which took place on a lazy spring training morning between a pitcher fighting to make the club and a baseball writer wrapping up another run-of-the-mill Grapefruit League interview.

Joe, can I give your parents a call?

"Sure."

OK, what are their names?

"Deb and Doreen."

That's right: Joe Valentine is the son of two gay women.

He tells you this without an iota of emphasis, almost as if he were explaining the mechanics of a slider or giving directions to the nearest 7-Eleven. There is no additional explanation, no awkward pause for effect. Nothing.

"It's no different than having a mother and father," he said. "These are the two women who raised me, and they are wonderful people. It's just not a big deal to me. Why should it be?"

In an enlightened world, it shouldn't. But major league baseball is to enlightenment what Pauly Shore is to career longevity. It took until 1959 for every team to have at least one black player. There never has been a female umpire. And in the history of the league, no active player has ever come out of the closet to express his homosexuality.

"I've got nothing against those people," Washington Nationals relief pitcher T.J. Tucker said recently. "But I don't get why anyone would want to be like that."
And they don't get why anyone would want to be bigoted and stupid, but there you have it.

Update - Here's what No More Mister Nice Blog has to say about this.
Shorter Chuck Colson:

That new all-gay cable channel is bad because it celebrates a lifestyle based on transient relationships -- as exemplified by the disgusting show about gay weddings.

****

(Incidentally, via Norwegianity, I find this Newsday article, from a couple of weeks ago, about Joe Valentine, who has made it all the way to the majors in baseball -- he pitches for the Cincinnati Reds -- as well as to heterosexual wedded bliss, despite the almost insurmountable burden of having two mothers, whom he clearly loves and who clearly love and support him. The two women have a "transient relationship" that has now lasted thirty years; Valentine calls his moms "wonderful people" and his high school coach says they "did a helluva job raising one fine man." Good thing we have Chuck Colson around to help prevent other children from suffering a similar fate.)
The wingnuts are such transparent hypocrites. They scream about how gays are evil because they're so promiscuous. Okay, say the gays say, let us get married. No no no, the wingnuts respond, we can't let you do that. Apparently there's a finite number of marriages in the universe and we can't let gays use up any that the heterosexuals might need (especially considering how many heterosexuals seem to need to get married more than once. Talk about "transient"!)

There's no arguing on this, by the way. The homophobes are entirely impervious to logic.
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