Who Did Baseball Pride Better?


IMG_3222Now that I’ve been to Pride Night for both a Major League team (the Washington Nationals) and a Minor League team (the Bowie Baysox), I gotta say the minors did it better. Here’s how they compared:

  1. Giveaways:  While both the Nats and the Baysox required a special ticket purchase to obtain the giveaway, the Baysox at least let us pick up our item inside the park. The Nats made us walk away from the main entrance and down the street to a mostly unlabeled blue tent. Sure there was a tiny little sign, but who hangs out outside the street down there in the first place? Also, several, though not all, minor league teams gave Pride-related giveaways to fans when they entered the stadium. No secret entrances, no having to pick up your giveaway outside the stadium far away from other fans.
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  3. In-game advertising: Sure, the Nats would occasionally put up the rainbow-colored “Curly W” up on the scoreboard and had one Pride flag hanging next to the U.S. flag, but that was about it. The Baysox not only kept putting up a sign saying “Welcome to Pride Night” up on the scoreboard, they had Pride flags on display throughout the stadium and staff wore rainbow-colored jerseys (ok, so they were really more like tie-dyed shirts, but they tried!)
  4. In-game programming: Other than the Washington Gay Men’s Chorus singing the National Anthem, the one Pride flag, and the occasional rainbow Curly W, you never would have known it was Pride Night at the Nats. The Baysox, on the other hand, created a truly welcoming atmosphere. They had LGBTQ-related trivia in between a few innings (like, how many LGBTQ individuals live in Maryland?) (of course, I was too busy trying to take a picture of the question up on the scoreboard – which I missed anyway – to pay attention to the answer), as well as LGBTQ community groups set-up on the concourse to provide information. Yes, the DC Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs was at the Nats game, but not only were they tucked away in a corner where you wouldn’t see them (unless you bought those special LGBTQ tickets and happened to cut through the picnic tables on the way to those special seats) and they wouldn’t give you any information (or one of their cute flag pens) unless you lived in the city and gave them your phone number.

 

Minor League Baseball put forth a concerted effort with their Strike Out Hate Campaign and joint advertising for the nearly 70 teams hosting Pride Nights. Major League Baseball may have had a greater percentage of their teams celebrating Pride, but it was still only 28 of them. Maybe its time MLB learned something from MiLB.

~ baseballrebecca

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Pride flag on display above the entrance of Prince George’s County Stadium, home of the Bowie Baysox

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