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    Pride Nights Pave Way for Inclusiveness in Major League Baseball

    The San Francisco Bay Times is extremely proud to be the media sponsor for the Oakland A’s Pride Night on Friday, June 8. Please join us! All participants who purchase a special ticket for this event will receive an exclusive A’s Pride Night wearable flag and access to the pre-game Pride Night Party in Championship Plaza. What’s more, our affiliated Use the News Foundation is the non-profit sponsor of the event, in conjunction with the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center and Spectrum Queer Media, so you will be helping out these important organizations, too.

    The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, established in September 2017, is the first and only such center serving the diverse and vibrant LGBTQ community in Oakland. Spectrum Queer Media, founded by 2018 San Francisco Pride Community Grand Marshal Kin Folkz/Monica Anderson, is an internationally recognized Oakland-based social justice community engagement and media literacy/advocacy group that works to empower our community. Tickets to the A’s Pride Night are now for sale online (https://groupmatics.events/event/Sanfrancisco4). Don’t miss out! The A’s will be playing the Kansas City Royals. We will mention more about the Royals later.


    Before we do that, we should say that for more than a decade, “Betty’s List” and the San Francisco Bay Times have also been invited to participate in the San Francisco Giants’ LGBT Night. Castro resident Dr. Betty Sullivan is a major sports fan (hand her a basketball and you will see why she was a star b-ball player in high school) and is once again organizing a group to attend this always great event, which this year will take place on Thursday, June 21. Those who purchase a special ticket will receive a limited-edition SF Giants Pride expandable backpack and access to the pre-game party. If you would like to join us, please contact Betty at 415-601-2113 or via e-mail (bettysnie@aol.com). The Giants will be taking on the San Diego Padres, who already enjoyed their Pride Night on April 27—the earliest of all such events.

    As of this writing, at least 23 Major League Baseball teams will be hosting LGBT Pride events this year. According to Outsports, they are as follows:

    American League West

    Oakland Athletics

    Seattle Mariners

    American League Central

    Minnesota Twins

    Chicago White Sox

    Kansas City Royals (Fans such as Scott Switzer have made this possible with a grassroots effort. Switzer plays in the Heart of America Softball League, an LGBT softball league in Kansas City. His inaugural “Gay Day at the K” a few years ago has grown into a well-attended event that is advertised via large organizations, LGBT businesses and more. While we will be cheering for the A’s on their Pride Night, we will also be thinking of Switzer and his “Forever Proud, Forever Royal” efforts.)

    American League East

    Baltimore Orioles

    Boston Red Sox

    Tampa Bay Rays

    Toronto Blue Jay

    National League West

    San Francisco Giants

    San Diego Padres (This event in April was a great success. The Padres played the New York Mets.)

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    Colorado Rockies

    Arizona Diamondbacks (They are playing San Francisco on June 29, so if you are a baseball fan, consider heading out to Arizona and attending this event. It will take place on the Friday after the SF Pride Parade, when the calendar often slows down a bit in the Bay Area.)

    National League Central

    Chicago Cubs (The Cubs deserve extra kudos as they will not only host a Pride Day, but also Out at Wrigley on Sunday, August 26.)

    Cincinnati Reds

    Milwaukee Brewers

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    St. Louis Cardinals

    National League East

    Atlanta Braves

    New York Mets

    Philadelphia Phillies

    Washington Nationals

    The MLB teams not mentioned still have time to organize Pride events, so hopefully more will be added to the list—if not this year, then next. In the meantime, note that the National League West is the only division at this point where all five of its teams will be holding a Pride event in 2018. Way to go, NL West!

    MLB Pride events are important for a number of different reasons. Per the A’s Pride Night, many serve as fundraisers for LGBTQ organizations. They bring members of our community together with allies and fellow sports fans in a welcoming environment. They are incredibly fun—and we speak from experience on this! But most of all, they signal a shift toward inclusiveness. Our fan base is large, vocal and comes with $ to spend, helping to boost the business of baseball that spills over into the many associated businesses handling parking, transportation, souvenirs, stadium concessions, hotels, nearby restaurants and so much more.

    Sports culture has been slow to evolve in terms of out LGBTQ players, however. It is not just baseball. There are zero openly gay male athletes in the MLB as well as the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS—North America’s five largest pro sports team leagues. There are some up and coming talented players in collegiate sports, so the next generation is poised to change that glaring “zero” statistic.

    You can help to make the change, by attending sports Pride events and demonstrating LGBTQ visibility. Should pro players have the courage to come out, they and associated others will then know that fans like you have their back and will continue to support their team—perhaps with even more enthusiasm than ever.

    For more information:

    Tickets to A’s Pride Night: https://groupmatics.events/event/Sanfrancisco4

    Tickets to the San Francisco Bay Times/”Betty’s List” group at SF Giants Pride Night: contact Betty at 415-601-2113 or via e-mail at bettysnie@aol.com

    Oakland LGBTQ Community Center: https://www.oaklandlgbtqcenter.org/

    Spectrum Queer Media: http://www.spectrumqueermedia.com/

     


    Pioneering Gay Male Baseball Heroes


    The fact that there are zero out gay men on MLB teams now shows how intense the pressure is for such players to stay in the closet. LGBTQ sports professionals often must look to retired players for role models, but even then, they may find individuals who experienced overwhelming difficulties—some of which proved to be insurmountable. We therefore honor the following players, not just for their baseball skills, but also for their courage to come out, speak the truth, live authentically and help others to do the same. Some are up and coming younger players whose careers we look forward to following for years to come.

     

    Matthew Barker

    Colorado Rockies (draft pick)*

    Denver Browns

    Billy Bean

    Detroit Tigers

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    San Diego Padres

    Kintetsu Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball

    Jason Burch

    Bowie Baysox: an AA Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles

    Glenn Burke

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    Oakland Athletics

    Sean Conroy

    Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association

    David Denson

    Milwaukee Brewers (draft pick)

    Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Class A Midwest League

    Helena Brewers

    Brevard County Manatees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League

    John Dillinger

    Pittsburgh Pirates (draft pick)

    Gulf Coast Pirates

    Carolina Mudcats

    Syracuse SkyChiefs

    Tyler Dunnington

    Gulf Coast League Cardinals

    State College Spikes of the New York–Pennsylvania League

    Mark Johnson

    University of Tampa Coach

    Matt Kaplon

    Drew University

    Ben Larison

    Coe College

    Tyson Lusk

    University of South Carolina Director of Baseball Operations

    Kevin McClatchy

    Former Owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates

    Dave Pallone

    MLB National League Umpire

    Ryan Jordan Santana

    Azusa Pacific University

    Golden Grove Dodgers in Adelaide, Australia

    Dale Scott

    MLB American League Umpire

    Chandler Whitney

    Mitchell College

    Walla Walla Community College

    *The mentioned teams often reflect only some of those for which the listed men were drafted to and/or played. In many cases, the players were part of numerous other teams. John Dillinger, for example, played for well over a dozen teams during just a decade of his impressive sports career.