THE way Kevin McClatchy figured it, he had to choose. He could indulge his dream of presiding over a big-time professional sports team, or he could be open about his sexuality. The two paths didn’t dovetail.
He went with sports, and in February 1996, at the age of 33, became the youngest owner in major league baseball when he led a group of investors who bought the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I presume that McClatchy is the scion of the McClatchy newspaper chain dynasty.
For the next 11 years, he was the team’s managing general partner and chief executive officer, not to mention its public face.
By the way, the Pirates were pretty awful under McClatchy's ownership.
And for all of that time, he took pains not to let his players, the owners of other teams or anyone beyond a tiny circle of family and close friends learn that he was gay.
According to some commenters from Pittsburgh, it was common knowledge in Pittsburgh, anyway.
He stepped away from the Pirates in 2007, but it took five years for him to reach the point where he felt even remotely comfortable sitting down with a journalist, as he did with me recently at his home here, about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, to talk about his private life.
I sense that some upscale WASPs are starting to figure out that this whole gay thing is a ticket to ride in a 21st Century America where it increasingly helps to belong to a recognized, respectable identity politics group.
Gays have always formed a quasi-covert Old Boys Network in many fields, discriminating in favor of their own and, inevitably, discriminating against females and males who won't play ball with them. But now they can become a public identity politics group as well and focus all attention on discrimination against them, which makes it practically impossible for the modern mind to notice that gays discriminate in the workplace, too.