Take Me Out starts with Kippy Sunderstrom, shortstop for the fictional major league team the Empires, talking to the audience, trying to pinpoint exactly when “the whole mess” started. He explains that Darren Lemming, the team’s star center fielder, was an audience favorite, encouraged by all. After the All-Star break, the team started losing and brought up a relief pitcher from the minor leagues, and that might have been the start of it all. Then he settles on the problem starting on a day when Darren gave a press conference: the stage lights come up on Darren surrounded by the other members of the team as he speaks to the public about his hope that his being gay will not change how people act toward him.
The setting changes to the clubhouse, where Kippy and Darren discuss what this announcement will mean. Kippy says that the other players are certain to feel a little uncomfortable about Darren’s sexual preference and will be a little resentful about not having been told earlier. Darren counters that he did tell Skipper, who assured him that the team would support him, but Kippy’s warning comes true when teammates Martinez and Rodriguez pass by, grunting something inaudible. Kippy says that he would like Darren and whoever he is dating to come to the house for dinner with his wife and three kids, but Darren has no particular love interest at the moment.
Jason Chenier, the team’s new catcher, enters. He approaches Darren timidly to say that, though he never felt comfortable talking to him, he feels all right about it now after the announcement. In trying to compliment homosexuals, he refers to a book that someone he knows once read; he associates ancient Greeks with homosexuality and then incorrectly attributes the Egyptian pyramids to the Greeks. Kippy and Darren laugh about his ineptitude, and Jason leaves, embarrassed.
The lights come up on the locker room. Darren is by his locker, undressing, when Toddy Koovitz comes in from a shower. When Toddy takes off his towel, he becomes angry that he now must be self-conscious about being naked in the locker room around Darren, despite Darren’s assurance that he has no sexual interest in him at all. Toddy tells Darren that his importance to the team will not keep God from punishing him, and he gives examples of other ballplayers—Roberto Clemente, Thurman Munson, and Lou Gehrig—who he says were struck down by God. Darren dismisses him with bemusement.
Kippy returns to the spotlight as narrator, wondering why Darren chose to reveal his sexual orientation at that particular time, and the scene goes to a lounge where Darren and his best friend in baseball, Davey Battle, are drinking after a game in which the Empires defeated Davey’s team. The two friends discuss their lives: Davey is a religious man with a wife and three kids, and Darren is mysterious and sarcastic, unwilling to talk about love. Their discussion ends with Davey telling Darren that he should want his true nature known to the world, and a week later Darren gives his press conference about being gay.
Mason Marzac comes onto the stage, introducing himself to the audience as a man who cared nothing about baseball until Darren made headlines with his announcement. Darren joins him onstage and the audience sees their first meeting, as Mason explains that he is the accountant assigned to handle Darren’s finances now that his previous accountant, Abe, has retired to Florida. Darren notes that his commercials only run on late-night television since the announcement, assuming that his sexual identity is probably disturbing, and he implies that Mason is assigned to him because Mason is gay. Mason counters that he is, in fact, quite good at making money with the investments of people like Darren, celebrities who would like to make money for a time in the future when they will not be able to work. He asks Darren to select a charity to receive donations from him. When Mason tries to thank him on behalf of the gay...
(The entire section is 2,165 words.)