Playing with balls could be about to get a bit more gay.
Tuesday, Major League Baseball announces that as part of its new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
For baseball players who might be struggling with the idea of coming out, the new rules could make the process easier.
"I have spoken many times with people who work in Major League Baseball, and they are afraid to come out, because they don't know how their owners and superiors would respond," former MLB player Billy Bean told the New York Daily News.
The time, though, seems to have come for owners and everyone else in the organization to get over whatever issues they might have with openly gay players. Even fans seem to be on board.
"I think this is an important step forward for MLB," Brian Redar, a gay baseball fan from Chicago, told the Windy City Times. "Not only does it add needed protections for gay and lesbian employees, it sends a message to fans that discrimination in the sport will not be tolerated. It is inevitable that an active Major League Baseball player will come out soon and I think this will help make that process easier."
Bean, who came out after he ended his baseball career, is "thrilled" about the development but warns that rules alone cannot change bigoted minds.
"I don't know if legislation is going to provide the safety and security that players need," Bean said. "If you're a distraction, you're going to be removed one way or another. They'll find a way."