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Dale Scott’s career as a professional baseball umpire spanned nearly forty years, including thirty-three in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1985 to 2017. He worked exactly one thousand games behind the plate, calling balls and strikes at the pinnacle of his profession. He worked in every MLB stadium, interacting with hundreds of other top-flight umpires, colorful managers, and thousands of players, from future Hall of Famers to one-game wonders.
STORY TO TELL
Scott has enough stories about his on-field career to fill a dozen books—and he tells plenty of those stories here. He’s not interested in settling scores, but throughout the book, he provides an honest look at managers and players, some of whom weren’t always perfect gentlemen.
However, what makes Scott’s book truly different is his unique perspective as the only umpire in the history of professional baseball to come out as gay during his career. Granted, that was after decades of remaining in the closet, and Scott writes vividly and movingly about having to “play the game”—maintaining a facade of straightness while privately becoming his true self and building a lasting relationship with his future husband.
He navigated this obstacle course at a time when his MLB career was just taking off—and when the HIV/AIDS epidemic consumed North America.
Scott’s story isn’t only about leading a sort of double life, then opening himself up to the world and discovering a new generosity of spirit. It’s also a baseball tale, filled with insights and memorable anecdotes that come so naturally for someone who spent decades working the biggest games alongside the world’s greatest baseball players, managers, and umpires.
Scott’s story is fascinating both for his umpiring career and being a pioneer for LGBTQ+ people within baseball and across sports.