"Going the Other Way: Lessons from a life in and out of Major League Baseball" author, star of the Game Show Network’s "I’ve Got a Secret" and former professional athlete Billy Bean joins the RealJock team with a monthly column answering your questions.
Yes, that’s right, you can ask Billy about life, sports, fitness, coming out, politics and more. Each month, Billy answers his favorite of your questions (so make them good).
I’m on a men’s basketball team in Portland, Oregon. It’s not a gay men’s team and I’m not out. I have a crush on one of my teammates. I don’t know if he’s gay or not. I try to drop little hints for him, but he’s hard to read, especially when we’re around the other guys.
How can I find out if he’s gay without offending him and alienating myself from the team?
After you came out, did your former teammates keep in touch with you? Who were your closest friends in baseball? Are you still friends? What’s your relationship with Major League Baseball like these days?
Curious in Philly
After eight seasons of Major League Baseball and in the prime of his career, Billy walked away, in part because of a yearlong struggle to deal with the sudden death of his partner in silence. He has dedicated his life since then to visibility and stereotype-busting in the hopes that other gay athletes won't have to suffer as he did.
“I believe that all people, regardless of their personal belief, or religious denomination, would agree that being honest with yourself, your family, and those around you, is a great foundation for living your life,” Billy said. “It has been a long, hard journey for me, and I want people to learn from my mistakes, not share them.”
Billy holds a Major League record for most hits in a debut game with four in his first game with the Detroit Tigers in 1987. Billy also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. In 1999, Billy came out of the closet, becoming the first Major Leaguer, past or present, to come out.
A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign and an ardent champion of civil rights, Billy is the author of “Going the Other Way: Lessons from a life in and out of Major League Baseball.” Showtime is making Billy’s book into a movie. Enjoy Billy weeknights at 11:30 p.m. eastern on the Game Show Network’s remake of the classic gameshow “I’ve Got a Secret.” Billy lives in Miami Beach, Florida, with his partner of over 10 years, Efrain. They own a real estate redevelopment business there.
Billy’s column debuts in mid-July. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.