DVR alert: Billy Bean’s life as a gay baseball player

Very strong “MLB Network Presents” tonight.

MLB Network Presents will premiere its final installment of the offseason onTuesday, February 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET with The Story of Billy Bean, a one-hour documentary hosted by Bob Costas about former outfielder Billy Bean’s experience as one of just two Major League Baseball players – current or former – to publicly come out as gay. Narrated by Bean himself, the program details his decision to leave baseball in 1996 at age 30 following the death of his partner, a relationship that he’d kept secret from his family and teammates, and his return to the game 18 years later as MLB’s first Ambassador for Inclusion.

Bean tells his story along with his parents Ed and Linda Kovac, family members, and former teammates and coaches, including Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and former MLB player and coach Tim Flannery. The Story of Billy Bean covers Bean’s childhood as the son of a former military officer to his time in the Major Leagues, where he lived “a double life” throughout his playing career, and touches on the reaction to his public coming out in 1999. MLB umpire Dale Scott and former NBA player Jason Collins discuss their friendships with Bean and the impact he had on their decisions to come out. A preview clip of this program can be viewed here.

In one segment, Bean speaks in-depth about being sent down to the Minor Leagues on the same day his partner died in 1995, only to find solace in Flannery, his Triple-A manager, despite Bean keeping his personal life a secret. Later in the show, Bean describes how a meeting with his father and openly gay former Marine staff sergeant and Purple Heart recipient Eric Alva helped strengthen Bean’s relationship with his dad, also a former Marine.

Bean was a Major Leaguer for parts of six seasons, playing from 1987-1989 and 1993-1995.  He made his debut with the Detroit Tigers (1987-89), followed by stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1989) and the San Diego Padres (1993-95).

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