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amazingly obscure “Bill James Player Ratings Book” question
Posted: 15 June 2006 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]

In the ‘94 Bill James Player Ratings Book, James writes about Billy Bean:

Lefthanded hitter; for some reason was very disciplined at Las Vegas, but when called up regressed into his habit of swinging at everything that doesn’t wear lace underwear.

Was this a reference to Bean’s (not public at the time) sexual orientation, or was it an incredible coincidence?

Posted: 15 June 2006 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]

Wow, I never noticed that.

I assume that it was a reference to him being in Vegas and a hacker only - I don’t think James would try to out someone like that.


“A critic who refuses to attack what is bad is not
a whole-hearted supporter of what is good.”

-Robert Schumann

Posted: 19 June 2006 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]

I don’t know, Dan.  That phrasing is just too cute, and too coincidental.  I doubt James was trying to “out” Bean, either, but I suspect he was pulling a “knowing insider” kind of stunt, figuring that 99% of readers wouldn’t get it, while everyone who did get the reference would think he was hilarious.

As someone who was once in the closet, I can tell you that (IF that is what James was doing), the odds are pretty good Bean wouldn’t have thought it was funny.  Most closeted gay men would have been afraid readers would get the veiled meaning instantly, and held their breath pretty much that entire off-season.

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