Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay athlete in one of the four major sports in April (h/t Sports Illustrated), and the Boston Red Sox honored the NBA veteran for his courage by selecting him to throw out the first pitch to Red Sox manager John Farrell at Thursday’s game at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox originally offered Collins the chance to throw off the mound in front of a packed house at Fenway in April, and he took the team up on the special opportunity:
We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2013
While Collins has received many honors since coming out to the public about his sexuality, the NBA star took to Twitter to share just how special being in Boston was for him and what kind of approach he took to the mound for his ceremonial pitch:
Good to be back in Boston! Can't wait to throw out the 1st pitch tonight at the #RedSox game. Should I go out of the stretch or the wind up?— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) June 6, 2013
Collins once again proved that he is appreciative of all the praise and respect he has received since coming out to the public. Not only did Collins stay to enjoy the game, he spent time with fans signing autographs (h/t Red Sox fan Lauren Finkelstein):
Collins then made his way to his box to enjoy Thursday’s matchup against the Texas Rangers, but he was not done connecting with fans. As seen in the picture posted by fan Jim Clifford, the NBA veteran had no problems taking photos with those in attendance:
It is great to see the genuine happiness in the face and demeanor of Collins now that he is living his life openly and without the weight of hiding a secret. He looks to be enjoying everything he is doing and is making a real difference in many people’s lives.
The Red Sox deserve immense credit as well for honoring a polarizing figure like Collins. In a progressive world where equality is a top priority, Boston is on the cutting edge.
Collins’ ceremonial first pitch was a great moment for the advancement of sports and humanity in general.