Late last week, former MLB reliever T.J. House came out in a heartwarming and beautiful Instagram post. Coinciding and inspired by the Respect For Marriage Act, House included pictures of him and his recent fiancé, while telling the story of his journey to arrive at the decision to come out.
House detailed how, though he loved playing baseball and it was a dream come true, and provided him with opportunities he may not have gotten elsewhere, he was never truly happy or free. That he had felt he had to keep who he was a secret, even to himself at times, partly due to the things he heard around baseball clubhouses. House had to prioritize his career, given that he never felt he would be accepted in baseball for who he was.
It’s not much of a surprise, because we’ve heard this story before. House, as a middle reliever, didn’t have much room for error to hang on to his baseball career. MLB front offices would use just about any excuse to move a player like House along if they thought he was in any way a “distraction,” which you know is exactly what we would have heard had House been able to live his life as he wanted back when he was playing.
House’s career ended in 2017, but it’s hard to feel like too much has changed in the five years since, given what we saw from the Tampa Bay Rays just this past summer. While those players cowered behind the usual fig leaf of religion — always the oasis for the truly ignorant — what they failed to realize is just how much harder they made it for anyone who, like House, is unable to live their life as who they truly are thanks to the cold atmosphere players like those on the Rays have created. Perhaps even in their own clubhouse, and even likely so.
Of course, neither the Rays nor MLB stepped in, indirectly sanctioning this kind of behavior while also making anyone in the LGBTQ+ community either in the industry or in the stands know exactly where they stand in the eyes of the league, which is basically nowhere.
It is wonderful that House finally found what he was looking for and is living the life he always dreamed of, as well as finding happiness with someone. It’s heartening as it always is that he wanted to share that story and happiness with the world, and anyone who feels a connection with it because they find themselves in a similar position will be just that much more likely to feel like they can be who they are as well. That’s a massive good, and House should be commended, as has rightly been done since his post.
It’s baseball that needs to ask itself why the only three former Major Leaguers to come out could only do so after they were done playing, and why it’s taken 23 years for House to be the third. Everyone, of course, has the right to live however they see fit, and if that means keeping their sexuality a secret to enhance (or endure) their professional life, that’s their choice. But we know that there are players who want to be out and play in the Majors, and their skills, work, and determination have earned them. House did, but felt he wasn’t able to. MLB should take that as a stain on its game.
Judging by their sitting on their hands after the group of Rays pulled their little stunt, they’re a long way from that.
No Murray Christmas
Kyler Murray’s injury, which appears to be season-ending, though it came with no contact, is a perfect follow-up to Sunday night’s roughing the passer mishegas.
As we’ve said repeatedly in the past, quarterback injuries essentially fuck any team’s season right into the sewer. It’s the NFL, it’s football, and any team’s season is just one play away from being altered irrevocably. With that much riding on every play, every time the QB touches the ball, it’s clear why the NFL is doing whatever it can to lessen the odds of that happening.
Niners fans, you can shut up.