A's host their first Pride Night, earn rave reviews for efforts
On Wednesday, the Oakland Athletics held their very first Pride Night, a night of inclusion geared around showing support for the LGBT community in the Bay Area.
On-hand for the festivities were Sidney Burke, brother of former major leaguer Glenn Burke, the first MLB player to come out as gay, and Breanna Sinclair, a transgender singer who delivered a rendition of the National Anthem.
Also at O.co Coliseum for the night was Billy Bean, a former player who came out after his playing career ended and who now serves as the league's Ambassador for Inclusion. Bean, of course, is not to be confused with A's general manager Billy Beane (they just have very similar names).
As he told Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area, Bean spoke with members of the A's front office about the event, of which he was a huge fan: "I explained to them how today is a perfect win for this organization, and for baseball...It all starts at the top, with ownership and the president of the team and Billy, and Bob Melvin. I’ve thanked him for the opportunity. Whether the players are ready to let it scratch the surface of their consciousness, I think the bigger, more important point is the fans and community see what they stand for. This message is so big, and it’s just a simple message of acceptance and embracing our differences.”
Bean also took a minute to recognize injured A's closer Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend, Eireann Dolan. The two hosted a ticket-buying campaign geared around purchasing group tickets and unwanted (but already purchased) tickets to the game from fans that didn't want to attend (due to personal objections regarding Pride Night or other reasons). They also raised some funds for an LGBT youth shelter in the Bay Area.
Said Bean of Pride Night and its burgeoning culture change around the league: "I think they see the simplicity. I challenge them also as fathers. What kind of conversations are going to be at their dinner table? Are they going to be great leaders or are they going to raise a bully? Are you someone who leads by example or perpetuates those stereotypes?”
A's outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha weighed in on Twitter after the game expressing his support for the night's theme:
Really glad @Athletics did pride night 2nite. Acceptance &sensitivity towards all people is something that can be improved upon in our game— Mark Canha (@outtadapakmark) June 18, 2015
As did Dolan, recapping her night with a series of photos:
Thank you to everyone who came to tonight's Athletics LGBT Pride Game. It turns out Pride is a good luck charm ❤️???? pic.twitter.com/be2x4XgHep— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) June 18, 2015
Wednesday's Pride Night may have been the A's first such theme night, but it seems obvious that it won't be their last based on the reaction it received.
A's first Pride Night is officially in the books. It was fabuuuuuulouss! Thanks to all that helped make it a success. pic.twitter.com/gMWb0dWADA— #VoteGreenCollar (@Athletics) June 18, 2015