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Ex-Pirates owner McClatchy comes out

NEW YORK — Kevin McClatchy, the former owner of the Pirates and now the board chairman at the McClatchy Co. newspaper chain, told the New York Times he is gay.

The interview with the newspaper is McClatchy's first public acknowledgement of his sexual orientation.

McClatchy, 49, owned the Pirates from 1996 until 2007. He told the New York Times that "you're not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue. And there's no dialogue right now."

McClatchy said he kept quiet about being gay while he owned the Pirates because of homophobia. He said he told his family in 1996 because of an anonymous threat to leak that information.

"I think I was more paranoid, for sure, about people," he said. "And suspicious, definitely. And angry."

A number of men involved in American professional sports have come out, including former basketball players John Amaechi and Will Sheridan, former football player Wade Davis, former baseball player Billy Bean and current Warriors president Rick Welts.

But none of those former players came out during their playing careers. That bothers McClatchy.

"Tens of thousands of people have played either professional minor-league baseball or major-league baseball," he said. "Not one has come out and said that they're gay while they're playing."

McClatchy said he expects backlash from both sides: those who wish he had spoken up sooner and those who will put his sexuality to blame for the Pirates' lack of success during his ownership.

"I'm sure people will criticize me because I came out later, and I should have come out while I was in baseball and in the thick of it," he said. "(But) I could find excuses for why not to do this article until I'm blue in the face."

BAKER STILL OUT: Reds manager Dusty Baker stayed in a Chicago hospital for treatment for an irregular heartbeat while his team was clinching the NL Central title. The 63-year-old manager was hospitalized Wednesday because of the heart problem that he has had for some time. He has missed three games as Cincinnati won its second division title in three years.

BREWERS: LF Ryan Braun, the defending NL MVP who is leading the team's charge back into the wild-card hunt, is playing through some groin pain but is unlikely to miss any time, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

CARDINALS: RHP Jake Westbrook, who suffered a strained right oblique Sept. 8, was shut down just a few pitches into his bullpen session. Manager Mike Matheny said it was "not a good day" for Westbrook, who will be re-evaluated today. … C Yadier Molina left in the ninth inning against the Cubs with lower back spasms and is day to day.

RANGERS: 3B Adrian Beltre, who had tests for stomach pain Friday night, was back in the lineup and said his pain threshold would determine how much he plays the rest of the season.

TIGERS: RHP Max Scherzer has recovered well enough from a fatigued shoulder to start the opener in today's doubleheader against the Twins. His start Tuesday night was cut short after two innings.

Ex-Pirates owner McClatchy comes out 09/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 23, 2012 12:58am]

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