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Former Umpire Takes To The Air

March 6, 1996

BOSTON (AP) _ After more than a decade in the field calling strikes, Dave Pallone is now fielding calls. The former umpire has a new radio phone-in show.

Pallone says the show, which debuted Monday, will bring two new things to sports radio: a host who has seen baseball from the inside and a host who is openly gay.

``They get to talk baseball with me and hear the ins and outs of what it’s like to be on the field with all these players that a lot of people just dream about,″ Pallone said.

Although his sexual orientation won’t play a major part in the show, Pallone said he does plan to touch on issues like AIDS and discrimination in sports.

``Of course they (sexual issues) are going to be talked about,″ he said. ``We will have Martina Navratilova and Greg Louganis on.″

Tennis star Navratilova and Olympic diver Louganis are both gay.

``We’re going to go out there and tackle the issues,″ he said.

Despite early fears that homophobic listeners would clog the lines, Pallone said the response to his show has been very positive.

``The one thing I have been trying to get through, this is a sports show. I am a former National League umpire who happens to be gay,″ said Pallone. ``So far not one word about sexual orientation has arisen.″

Pallone’s show is on from noon to 3 p.m. EST on WPBS, a station almost totally oriented to local sports talk.

Pallone is hoping that the show will take off and be syndicated by all 13 stations owned by Douglas Broadcasting, the company that owns WPBS.

Pallone’s baseball career ended when the NL didn’t renew his contract in 1988.

Pallone says he was let go because of his homosexuality, but he was also involved in a pushing match with Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose earlier that season.

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