Who is Brendan Lemon's secret baseball player lover?
May 26, 2001 5:16 AM   Subscribe

Who is Brendan Lemon's secret baseball player lover? And will professional sports ever be the same if he comes out?
posted by RylandDotNet (24 comments total)
It's not baseball, but...
A grunting, crunching ballet of repressed homoeroticism, football... in my view. The exaggerated breadth of the shoulders, the masked eradication of facial personality, the emphasis on contact-vs.-avoidance-of-contact. The gains in terms of penetration and resistance. The tight pants that accentuate the gluteals and hamstrings and what look for all the world like codpieces. The gradual slow shift of venue to "artificial surface", "artificial turf." Don't the pants' fronts look fitted with codpieces? And have a look at those men whacking each other's asses after a play. It is like Swinburne sat down on his soul's darkest night and designed an organized sport.
— Infinite Jest
This is all about American football, of course. Soccer is terribly butch.
posted by darukaru at 6:43 AM on May 26, 2001

(I don't make the rumors, I just repeat them...)

The money seems to be on Mike Piazza - dunno if this is based on any information whatsoever, or just ardently wishful thinking, but, there you have it...

(It's also worth noting, though I can't find the link right now, that Lemon maintains his boyfriend knows and approves of the Editor Note that got published, so this may not exactly be a case of outing someone who's unaware or opposed to it).
posted by m.polo at 7:21 AM on May 26, 2001

I just think it's funny that Lemon continually refers to his partner as "my ballplayer". :-)
posted by jpoulos at 7:58 AM on May 26, 2001

"Tired of telling him this privately, and compromising my self-esteem, I’m now taking a risk and giving him this stronger hint. (I would never out him.)"

Whoever it is, it's comforting to know that hetrosexuals aren't the only ones who have to deal with the psycho bitch from hell. If I were this guy - despite anything Lemon maintains - I'd be considering chopping the whole assembly off with a skill saw, and wishing like hell I had stuck with anonymous pick-ups in leather bars.

"Stronger hint" = publication in a national magazine that does everything but name him from a pool of possibly 75 "very recognizable media figures". What happens when Meddling Mary starts to feel his self-esteem has taken another dent? This smells like blackmail, and I wouldn't put it past him to out this guy - if possibly more surripitiously next time - so he can get his man on his terms.

Mary initially accepted his pitcher on his terms; now that he's in the relationship, he's betrayed the confidence of the fella because he's in a snit. So what does locker room Larry do? Try to dump this handgrenade to his career, and risk him bawling on the Springer show? Commit career hari-kari and out himself against his own wishes and better judgement to avoid being beaten to the punch? Either way, I don't think Mary is getting a happily ever after out of this one. This was a seriously fucked up thing to do, and a delusion that it's doing anything to strengthen the relationship.
posted by Perigee at 10:21 AM on May 26, 2001

Dude, it's so John Rocker.
posted by sugarfish at 10:24 AM on May 26, 2001

I doubt it's Piazza; IIRC the editor's letter refers to the player as a recognizable name but not a big one. Short of Big Mac, Junior, and A-Rod, Piazza is about as big a name as it gets.
posted by louie at 10:31 AM on May 26, 2001

For me, a better question than "Who is Brendan Lemon's secret baseball player lover?" is "Who is Brendan Lemon?"

Now, thanks to that link, I now have that completely useless piece of information embedded in my brain for all eternity. Lemon is the lowest of the low. One does not use one's bully pulpit in a national magazine as a personal forum to browbeat one's lover into doing what one wants them to do. Lemon makes a token attempt to tie it in to the larger issues involved in coming out, but it's still transparently a ploy to put pressure on his lover to do something his lover doesn't want to do. Lemon, of course, knows what's best for his guy, better than the guy himself does, and I'm sure he only ran this column "for his own good."

Bleah. What a breach of professionalism.
posted by kindall at 11:38 AM on May 26, 2001

This from espn.com:

"Lemon, who said he showed his partner a draft of the letter before it was published, is hopeful that the article will help change the need for homosexual athletes to keep their private lives secret. Whether it's his partner or another professional athlete, somebody, Lemon says, is going to come out of the closet. He hopes it will change the way people perceive homosexual athletes in society."

Why would he possibly write this in a public forum for the sole purpose of pressuring his partner? His motivation is directed at the general public (for awareness/education purposes), as well as the other gay professional athletes, whose coming out would make it much easier for his partner.

Discussion is the path to tolerance, and what he wanted to accomplish is creating dialogue such as in this very forum.
posted by padjet1 at 12:36 PM on May 26, 2001

I repeat his own words:

"Tired of telling him this privately, and compromising my self-esteem, I’m now taking a risk and giving him this stronger hint. (I would never out him.)"

The man is writer enough to state his own intentions, and spin-doctoring that intent in direct opposition to his own words does not sway my interpretation.
posted by Perigee at 12:52 PM on May 26, 2001

Someone should out Bill Buckner even if he isn't gay.
posted by machaus at 6:56 PM on May 26, 2001

Didn’t Piazza sleep with Madonna? Who am I thinking of?

Regardless, let’s hope the MeFi PIs don’t get turned on to this mystery. The ballplayer (heh-heh) would get outed over the weekend.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2001

my money is on brady anderson. there have been rumors about it in baltimore for years. he's not a huge name but he is a recognizable name and he is an "east coast ball player."
posted by suprfli at 7:52 PM on May 26, 2001

No, no, no, only in my dreams would it be Brady Anderson... (And never mind what kinda dreams, you foul-minded vulgarians).

But Cap'nCrack's given me an idea. Seeing how quickly MeFi Crew brought down Kaycee Nicole, wouldn't they relish a new challenge? C'mon, guys, give us some compelling evidence before Lemon breaks down and tells us himself (which he's obviously pissing himself to do...).

(Note to perigee: if you think for a moment that this is "about" Lemon's relationship with "his ballplayer," you're an idiot. It's about causing discussion to happen, and Lemon's guy knew about it from the start. For God's sake, how stupid do you think Brendan Lemon is? This is a coldy calculated move to engender discussion about homophobic attitudes in professional sports, not a lover's quarrel.)
posted by m.polo at 8:04 PM on May 26, 2001

You're making an assumption, m.polo; your argument is based on Lemon's post-publication statement that his guy knew about it. You have not heard that from his boyfriend himself; nor are you likely to. Under the circumstances, he could also say that 'his ballplayer' engages in nightly autoerotic strangulation wearing a duck suit. The man in question is not available to comment. Would you take that statement with as much credulity? Why should I take his post-publication statement with more credulity than his initial statement?

I again turn to his published statement, as it was written; and written , I assume, exactly as he intended it. Writers - Journalists - have to do that pretty carefully before they push the commit button to send it out to the public, and this guy is no greenhorn. If writers don't, editors are there to do the job for them; but he, being the editor, didn't have the parachute of another person's perceptions of his published statements.

You attribute to him motivations that appear nowhere in his initial published statement. He did not say, "My boyfriend would like other sports players to come forward so he would not feel stigmatized." He did not say, "I think there should be some discussion about this subject"; in fact, he stated his position on that very clearly: he believes that such a statement would no longer be career threatening. Personally, I agree with him on this point.

But you would not have me take him at his word? Or that there is reason to discard his initial statement in favor of an appended comment on the strength of a phantom claim? Without any possibility that the party in question will resolve the issue, one way or another, with a statement? I may be an idiot, mpolo, but I ain't no fool.

I'll take the first appellation - if you are willing to take the second, providing you cannot support his new motivation through the body of his initial published statement.
posted by Perigee at 8:44 PM on May 26, 2001

(By the way, for what it's worth, this seems to be the New Republic article Kettman was researching when he interviewed the baseball player.)
posted by Perigee at 8:57 PM on May 26, 2001

If one takes only what's published there, one could reach the conclusion you have. Apparently, we are operating using different contexts, perigee. This is a political topic about which I unfortunately know a great deal, and I view this episode within that context, as I'm as certain as I can be without hearing it from his own lips that Brendan Lemon does.

You may of course, if you choose, continue to take at face value what actually made it into print. I caution you to recall that these are the actions of a high profile editor of a national magazine, an editor whose intelligence and political commitment have never been questioned that I'm aware of, not the amateur author of some zine read by twenty two people on the Web. He knows - precisely - what he's done: set up a way to guage the climate for his boyfriend to do what the boyfriend wants to do. No, the words don't say that, perigee, the context and the climate, in concert with the words, say that, but unfortunately, you'd have to take somebody else's word for that and you're obviously not someone who's going to take somebody else's word for anything.

I'll leave you to apply whatever stereotypes you have in your head about how his "relationship" with "his ballplayer" is working, the ones that allow you to arrive at the conclusion that this is just a "Mary" driven mad by her love for her "Larry." Whatever makes you feel better, perigee.
posted by m.polo at 9:37 PM on May 26, 2001

Maybe I'm wallowing in post-Kaycee cynicism, but what if Lemon isn't dating a baseball player at all? He says in the article that not even his friends know about it. If he weren't involved with a ballplayer, just making it up accomplishes the same goal of increased dialogue. It's lousy journalism, but OUT isn't exactly about the News, it's about the politics.

Or maybe Lemon doesn't even exist himself! Maybe he's the creation of some twisted, lonely middle-aged woman in Iowa. Or maybe....
posted by jpoulos at 10:09 PM on May 26, 2001

And will professional sports ever be the same if he comes out?

Yeah. They'll probably be the same waste of time and money they always were.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:14 AM on May 27, 2001

I work for a news gathering agency, m.p; part of my daily atmosphere is to be cynical and to trust nobody and nothing out of the gate without at least two confirmed sources. That's journalism, the way it's supposed to be played.

Lemon's first statement is his word: by his own hand, with very openly stated motivations and intent - no further proof is needed. The later statement that his man already knew and approved it is purely heresay without confirmation, and is directly in opposition of the text of his initial statement.

If this secondary statement is NOT true, then we have a huge injustice being done to a man who has no recourse in his silence. If this secondary statement is NOT true, then he has been given a very ominous and public warning, and then has been claimed in absentia to have approved of it in order to cover any possible popular blowback against the perpetrator. Take this situation away from a man you know and respect, m.p, and I think you would agree it is NOT a good thing, and certainly worthy of a heapin' helpin of skepticism.

And, in his position of a national author/editior, to have allowed this to even become a question is HUGE black mark. If he intended dialogue, he failed miserably. Kettman's New Republic article is a tremendous launching point for discussion of the topic of the pros and cons of open sexual preference in sports. As far as I can see, all Lemon has accomplished in his "stronger hint" is to

1) Start a lot of salacious rumoring about the identity of his paramour

2) Brought into question Lemon's ability to function as a credible journalist

Look at the two of us: I have always considered you an extremely insightful writer here, and I always will. I do not feel I am overly ignorant, and can on occassion contribute an intelligent comment. But here we are, locked in discussion that has fallen as low as ad hominum comments about the motive of a story rather than the topic he claimed to want to forward discussion on. That's not good journalism. That's not even good writing.

I can appreciate you may have a deeper context to understand this; but the rest of us don't. And, if his intent was as he now claims it to be, he made a fatal error in couching his desire for dialogue in a way that completely erradicated his intent. And, for me, there is very little short of a statement from his paramour that would redeem him for me.

Let me clarify my sympathies - they are completely with mystery Larry: and I DO mean sympathies. Because IF that second statement is untrue, Larry is totally forked in a stewpot with the fire underneath on high. If he's Ok with it, ok, I can give it a pass, even if it was the penultimate in poor journalism. IF.

But what if not? High profile people do not always carry high-profile motives, as we well know. And if that second statement is untrue, there's a guy out there who has just been totally victimized. And I hold Lemon responsible, completely. For the victimization of someone who trusted him, if that is the case. For the new witch hunt with his amorata as the center, in any case. For making people like you and I take sides between a possible victim and a respected activist. We should not be fighting about this, m.p.; and we are only doing so because we have been placed in the arena to defend two different percieved injustices. We both believe in our causes. And neither cause is wrong. But we battle over a rift created by poor and irresponsible journalism. That's just not defensible either.

The one thing I'm positive of is that not a single editor I have worked with would have allowed that initial statement to see print. I'm pretty sure that, given the opportunity, Lemon himself would make massive amendments to it - in retrospect. He's already tried.

So, let us say this, to end in agreement:

If his second statement is true, then I apologise for my misinterpretation of his remarks - Not knowing the man, I judged by the percieved action.

If his second statement is not true, you condemn the victimization of a man who in his silence had no defense against sexual blackmail and threatened national exposure.

I think those are positions we both can agree to completely.
posted by Perigee at 11:44 AM on May 27, 2001

If it's the penultimate in poor journalism, what's the ultimate? And what was the antepenultimate?
posted by rodii at 4:33 PM on May 27, 2001

I can and certainly do agree to those points, perigee. In a world of absolutes, it's sometimes difficult for even me to remember that sometimes there aren't winners and losers, sometimes there are only losers...
posted by m.polo at 4:56 PM on May 27, 2001

I'm amazed that so many people seem to care.

There are, no doubt, gay baseball players, gay football players, gay basketball players, gay hockey players, gay golfers, gay tennis players, gay skiers.

The U.S. has already had a gay president (Buchanan). Why does anybody still care about this stuff?
posted by drunkkeith at 5:41 PM on May 27, 2001

Post mortem speculation about a president is way different than a "gay president".
posted by owillis at 5:49 PM on May 27, 2001

I suppose that's a personal opinion, rodii; but my use of the word penultimate wasn't accidental misuse of the term.

To me, the ultimate would be something like the work the Hearst network did in the late 19th century to foment the Mexican American war - 'yellow journalism' stuff that intentionally costs lives.

The antepenultimate would be any story in which shoddy reporting accidentally occludes the full truth - the difference between 'Fred is the alleged rapist of Sally Smith' and 'Fred is the rapist of Sally Smith'.

To me, its a categorical rather than a chronological hierarchy. Sadly, the nature of the field pretty much guarantees that any chronological positioning would be too fluid to keep track of.
posted by Perigee at 8:13 PM on May 27, 2001

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