Pride Nights are increasingly a common part of pro sports team’s annual calendar, and Saturday night the New York Mets held their first.
“The message is everyone is welcome that walks through the turnstiles to watch us play baseball,” Bean told the Daily News. “The LGBT community is part of every community.”
Theme nights are common in Major League Baseball—spotlighting everything from Jewish heritage to pet adoption—but last night was the first time one of New York’s four major pro teams held a Pride night. (The Mets are now one of 10 teams in the league to do so.)
The goal, say organizers, is to create a more accepting atmosphere both in the stands and in the bullpen.
“A lot of people forget our players are 19, 20, 21 years old,” Bean says. “They’re world class baseball players, [but] they haven’t had time to learn all the ways of the world.”
He admits that work still needs to be done to end casual slurs in the locker room: “It was acceptable to be disparaging. When guys are ragging other guys, they feminize them,” says Bean. “The comments were sexist as much as they were homophobic.”
While players need to come out in their own time, its MLB’s responsibility to make sure there’s a friendly environment awaiting them. With Saturday’s event, says Bean, the Mets “sent a great message not only to their fans, but for all of baseball.”
The stadium certainly got into the spirit, with the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band playing on the field and the giant Coca-Cola sign lit up in rainbow lights.
The kiss-cam caught several same-sex smooches.
And Styx played a post-game set, with out band member Chuck Panozzo on bass.
A portion of ticket sales will go to the LGBT Network’s Safe Schools Initiative.