Thursday, November 18, 2010

Out, The Glenn Burke Story... with Jerry Pritikin

There is a new documentary that recently had its premier at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. I had a brief cameo in it. I first met Glenn when he was still with the Dodgers. During the off season, Glenn was playing in a choose up basketball game with several other gay athletes. At the time I was a photographer for a San Francisco gay newspaper, and Glenn asked me to refrain from taking his photograph because of the consequences, and I honored his wishes. Glenn was a great guy, but the pressures of being gay and playing in the major leagues in time took its toll. There have been a few reviews that had comparisons to Jackie Robinsons breaking the color barrier in 1947, and some reviews saying that was not a just comparison. I happen to believe, it was more then just to do so! This documentary is completely on target, and long over due. I am thankful to have been part of this historical documentary about Glenn Burke, and his life after he left Professional Baseball. It soon will be made available as a DVD.

11.10: Out: The Glenn Burke Story -- Drew Remenda
"You're in a foxhole with somebody, and the ...
11.10: Out. The Glenn Burke Story
Brodie Brazil reports from the movie's premiere ...
11.10: Out -- Ted Griggs with Brodie Brazil
Comcast SportsNet GM Ted Griggs joins Brodie ...
11.10: Out -- Glenn Burke's Family with Brodie Brazil
Felicia and Sydney tell Brodie that Glenn ...
11.10: Out: The Glenn Burke Story -- Roger Brigham
"He's nurtured many of the athletes."
Out: The Glenn Burke Story -- Trailer
'Out: The Glenn Burke Story' re-airs tonight ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Billy Bean
Former Major League outfielder, gay rights ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Tommy Hawkins
Former Los Angeles Dodgers VP of Communications ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Reggie Smith
Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder.
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Pamela Pitts
Oakland Athletics Director of Baseball Administration. ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Davey Lopes
Former Los Angeles Dodger, Philadelphia Phillies ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Larry Corrigan
Former Dodgers-Minor League teammate, Pittsburgh ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Eric Sherman
Author, "Out at Home, the Glenn Burke Story". ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Jon Rochmis
Former Oakland Tribune sportswriter, journalism ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story- Marvin Webb
Former Los Angeles Dodgers Minor Leaguer. ...
Out- The Glenn Burke Story - Mike Norris
Former Oakland Athletics pitcher.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area


Out. The Glenn Burke Story

“Glenn was comfortable with who he was. Baseball was not comfortable with who he was.”
–Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Childhood Friend and Sports Agent

Glenn Burke’s journey through baseball began and ended in Oakland, California. His sports career had many stops along the way, starting as a multi-sport star at Berkeley High School, followed by a brief stint at the University of Nevada, Reno as a prized basketball recruit, and then moving into professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers, being hailed by one coach as “the next Willie Mays.”

Early in his career, Burke felt he had to hide his true self from his teammates. Later, when he began to reveal glimpses into his sexuality the baseball establishment began to close him out. Out. The Glenn Burke Story, a one-hour documentary produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, tells the dramatic tale of Burke’s legacy as the first openly homosexual Major League Baseball player. From his Major League debut in 1976 and starting Game One of the 1977 World Series for the Dodgers to subsequently being traded to the Oakland Athletics the next season, and then walking away in 1980 from the game that he deeply loved, Comcast SportsNet follows one of baseball’s most dramatic arcs.

Many of Burke’s teammates were aware of his homosexuality during his playing career, as were members of management. And many of those teammates believe that his sexuality – and the reaction it provoked – led to the premature derailment of his baseball career.

Out. The Glenn Burke Story tells the tumultuous story of the wedge that was driven between Burke and the Los Angeles management, the ensuing similar situation in Oakland that led to Burke’s abrupt retirement, and the hero’s welcome that Burke received in San Francisco’s Castro District after he left professional baseball.

Comcast SportsNet’s narrative follows Burke through his public announcement of his homosexuality in a 1982 Inside Sports magazine article (‘The Double Life of a Gay Dodger’) and on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel, to his subsequent downward spiral to drugs, prison, and eventually living on the same San Francisco streets where he was once hailed as an icon.

Burke’s story took on another level of tragedy when he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. Yet at the end of his life, the game that he claimed abandoned him so many years before reached out to one of its own. The A’s found Burke and provided him with constant support in his final months, as did some of his former teammates.

Glenn Burke passed away on May 30, 1995 at the age of 42 of AIDS-related complications.

Out. The Glenn Burke Story documents the extent of Burke’s courage, strife and friendship throughout his life, and the compassion and callousness of the sport of baseball. The program weaves together insights from Burke’s teammates and friends, including Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes, Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Manny Mota, Rickey Henderson, Claudell Washington, Mike Norris, Shooty Babitt, Tito Fuentes, and former Major Leaguer and gay rights activist Billy Bean,and Gay Softball player,Jerry Pritikin.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jerry Pritikn's First Chutzpah Award Goes to Cubs Owners!

Today's Trib Headlines 11/12/10
Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher
Real Baseball Fans are an Endangered Species T-shirt designed by Pritikin over 10 years ago.

(Chicago,Il.) I think I heard it before... I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it anymore! Ironically, I do not consider myself a ba$eball fan anymore either, because I have been priced out of the "Friendly Confines" of Chicago's Wrigley Field , at the face value of a Bleacher Ticket. My Dad, who was my BASEBALL RABBI, and taught me "Baseball 101" and Cubs History way back in 1945, that also included stories of his adventures when the Cubs played at the Old West-Side ballpark dating back to 1906-08. There he picked up beer and soda bottles to get free entry into the games. He had stories of Cubs teams and players ever since that time, and even during the Great Depression he said the average person, working or not working could still afford a day at the old ballpark.

When the Tribune Company bought the team in 1981, they had a catchy slogan... "Building a New Tradition". However, they forgot to tell us fans... that it came at the expense of many of the fine traditions... that earned Wrigley Field the moniker, "The Friendly Confines". Each year since the Tribune Company, and the Ricketts Family cartel that now own the team... has constanly raised tickets, food and beer prices so much... the average fan taking his family to a game, would have to file for bankruptcy... to do so!

I gave Players, Owners, Scribes and Fans Awards during my 25 years that I roamed inside and outside the ballpark. After seeing today's headlines in both the Trib, and Sun-Times... I almost want to come out of retirement... just to give one more Award... however I decided to make my First WWW Chutzpah Award, via my blog and it's an imaginary one... since I have not learned to master the Photo-shop tools, needed to make one... and if I waited until someone helped me... it might be too late. I am attaching the following "Letters to the Editor"... that I sent to both the Trib and Sun-Times, as the messenger to my response of Today's Headlines:
If there are needs for improvements at Wrigley Field, it should not come from the City's entertainment tax, and the fans should not pay for building improvements, either. I recommend that funding be based on the Cubs payroll. There should be a 10% Added Value tax on all games played at Wrigley, with 5% paid by the Cubs, and 5% paid by the players for all home games. The same Added Value Tax formula should be put on any other Entertainment venue, based on what Bands are paid, or other events that take place within the "Friendly Confines". If the Cubs new owners don't like that... let them move.

Jerry Pritikin aka The Fan Formally Know as the "Bleacher Preacher"

P.S. Look forward to my next Chutzpah Award... and also take the time to leave your comment on this, or any other of my postings on this site... PLEASE!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quarterback Scores Cheeky Touchdown;The Driscoll Middle School

I HAVE NOT SEEN A PLAY LIKE THIS SINCE JOE E. BROWN OR RUDY VALLEY DID IT IN AN OLD TIME MOVIE! Cheers to the coach and players... The Bleacher Preacher

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Pritikin Poll, Now & Then...

Jerry Pritikin
Winds on Castro Street December-1978 (c) Jerry Pritikin
Jerry with Harvey Milk-1978 Photo Credit: Danny Nicoletta

I am 73 years old, and have voted for over 50 years, in that time I have never been asked to participate in one poll! I really don't give a crap at poll results, period. They don't reflect me, or how I vote. Next to all those negative ads, the thing I hate about elections, are the dam polls! In the 50s, I heard about the Jewish Vote, and later the black vote, and now the gays votes. Let's face facts... the only vote that count are those in the ballot box. I was involved in the early gay politics in San Francisco... and you know what I found OUT, that gay's are no different than any other voting group.

When Harvey Milk was running against a non-gay, married lawyer... who was a freedom rider in the south during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and defended G.I.s who did not want to return to the Vietnam war, and was a resident of District 5 for most of his adult life. Even though I was Jewish and openly gay like Harvey...and a friend of Harvey Milk... I supported Terry Hallinan, over Harvey Milk, because he was more qualified to serve most of the citizens and businesses in the District. There were 2 gay newspapers, and they supported Harvey, because he was gay. After Harvey was elected and then assassinated in November of 1978, there was a group from the "Gay Democratic Club" putting out flyer's asking that the gay community get behind Harvey's Campaign Manager and City Hall Aid, Ann Kronenberg to replace Harvey's seat on the Board of Supervisors.. It was signed by their President, Harry Britt. Terry and I both supported this campaign. Some how, after meeting with Mayor Feinstein.... guess who was appointed? Harry Britt! Terry Hallinan had agreed to be Harvey's Co-Chairman for the next election... because Harvey was doing a good job representing the District. However, Terry decided to re-run for the "Open" District 5 Supervisor's seat. The "Gay Democratic Club, changed it's name to the "Harvey Milk Democratic Club", and one of the their first campaign brochures asked the question "Who needs a gay Supervisor? and on the inside it said "We Do!" Can you imagine what would of happened if Terry, put out a brochure asking "Who needs a "straight" Supervisor? We do!" Terry chose the Campaign Slogan "UNITED WE STAND", and The Bay Area Reported gay newspaper claimed that it was "Overtly" anti-gay, as well as Terry,was too for using it. I took the time to write a "Letter to the Editor" why I supported Terry Hallinian. Above my name they boldly printed "GAYS FOR HOMOPHOBIA", and deleted the 2 main paragraphs from my letter. When B.A.R. came OUT for their support of Harry Britt... Guess what HEADLINE they used? "UNITED WE STAND", the same paper that said, Terry was anti-gay for using it! I used to go with Terry, when he spoke to groups that supported candidates with endorsements. One of those groups was the Young California Gay Republicans... that later changed their name to "Log Cabin Republicans". While Terry was talking to their Board... at one of their club meetings, I struck up a conversation with a very good looking 18 year old... this was not long after that 18 year old got to vote. We were talking about everything but politics, when another person joined in our conversation without being invited, and proclaimed that he had just got talking with Jerry Pritikin (me) and added... you know, the anti-gay queer, who is supporting the anti-gay Terry Hallinan, and at that point, I turned to the young man and extended my hand and said"My name is Jerry Pritikin", and then turned to the other guy, and said "What else did I have to say?"... he then turned and left... Terry was elected Supervisor several years later, and then elected twice as San Francisco's District Attorney. In his administration, he hired over 40 openly gay lawyers and workers... remember, this is the same guy who was branded "Anti-Gay"!

President Harry Truman said "That if you can't stand the heat of a political kitchen, stay out!" Frankly, I don't mind the heat... it is the lies that are flung during election time. Like I said... the only vote that matters to me, is my vote. In those 50's years since I started to vote... I discovered that gays are no different than any other group. They consist of bigots, that includes Hetero-phobes, as well as all religions, Atheist , people of all sizes(pun intended)and colors, left wingers, right wingers and you,too! (if you are gay)... Hey, if your not...we all can't be perfect!
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