Mets Host First NY Sports Gay Pride Night
Met fans love donning their orange and blue, but last Saturday night at Citi Field they threw in some red, yellow, green and purple. Add in plump wieners, a few balls and some steamy humidity, and baby you’ve got a big gay baseball stew goin’.
Benefiting the LGBT Network and their anti-bullying Safe Schools initiative, highlights of Mets Pride Night included the pre-game presenting of colors by the New York City Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band, and a first pitch by the one and only Billy Bean.
Not-So-Fun Fact: Billy Bean is one of only two (that’s right, two) openly gay players in the history of Major League Baseball. (The other is Glenn Burke (Dodgers and A’s) who died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.) Neither of these players came out while active in the majors, and there are no currently active openly gay players in the MLB (or, for that matter, in the NBA, the NFL or the NHL).
Another highlight of the night was the featuring of (gasp) same-sex couples on the Kiss Cam. Alternating between heterosexual and homosexual couples, the audience shrieked and shouted particularly loudly as each LGBT couple was shown. At one point, in classic Kiss Cam fashion, the camera mistakenly focused on two women who weren’t together, with one of the women turning off frame to kiss her male companion.
All in all, it was a nice night, but it seemed…tentative. While I’m appreciative of their efforts, the Mets were really just dipping a toe into the big LGBT pool. Distributing miniature pride flags and rainbowfying the Coca-Cola sign are great, but it felt very surface-level. And, really, how good can any event (pride-related or not) be where they only play one Madonna song?
New York also seems surprisingly behind the times given the city’s prominent place in the history of gay rights. Two of the Mets’ division rivals, the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies, have already been hosting pride nights for over a decade.
I’m confident the Mets can do better next year. Maybe the boisterous, die hard 7 Line Army will trade in their monochrome orange and become the 6 Colors of the Pride Flag Army. Maybe they’ll show 100% same-sex couples on the Kiss Cam, or better yet, start sprinkling them in year-round. And no T, no shade, but maybe the boring-as-fuck between innings “Amazin’ NYC Car Race” could be replaced by the “Amazin’ NYC Drag Queen Race” (just don’t tell RuPaul).
While it didn’t feel like they went far enough, the Mets have still made more of an effort than any other New York sports team ever has. Further evidence of something all of us can agree upon, be we gay, straight, lady, man or somewhere in between: the Yankees suck.