Billy Bean maintained dialogue with Daniel Murphy after 2015 comments

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Billy Bean indicated Friday that he forged a positive relationship with Daniel Murphy a year ago after comments from the second baseman created national headlines.

Bean, MLB’s inclusion ambassador, visited New York Mets camp on Friday. He threw batting practice and shagged fly balls.

A year ago, after Bean had a similar visit, Murphy told reporters he did not approve of Bean’s gay “lifestyle.” Those comments mushroomed in the media.

“Out of any kind of surprise like that, some good comes out of it,” said Bean, who played in parts of six seasons in the major leagues. “I was very clear -- I wrote an article that same day -- about how Daniel treated me with 100 percent respect. He had a great year last year. He’s a great ambassador for baseball. I think it was important for people to realize that somebody asked him a question in his environment. We had never had a chance to talk prior.

“And he and I communicated all throughout the year in a very supportive way. I just wanted to wish him continued success. I think that it moved the conversation in front of people. I was very clear how respectful I am of people who have conservative religious values. That’s a huge part of baseball. I look at it as an opportunity that I need to be a better example for people to see that sometimes our differences are not as big as they might have thought prior.”

Bean had a more low-key visit this year -- simply acting as an extra coach. Last year, he spoke with players and staff about being more inclusive.

The Mets recently have been in the forefront in recognizing the LGBT community. Not only have they now invited Bean to camp two straight years, they also will host a “Pride Night” on Aug. 13 at Citi Field.

“It speaks loud and clear that they want to be very, very clear that everyone who loves baseball in the New York City area is welcome at their games,” Bean said. “… The point of the [Pride Night] game is just to let everyone know that if you love the Mets, the turnstiles are open for you, too.”