As they promised they would, the St. Louis Cardinals announced on Friday plans for their first ever Pride Night at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals had been embattled in a little bit of controversy recently because they picked Lance Berkman to be their speaker at Christianity Day and Berkman’s views on the LGBTQ community aren’t exactly sympathetic. Feeling some pressure there, the Cardinals promised they’d create a Pride Night too, eventually.
Now they have. Their Pride Night is happening Aug. 25. It’s a nice enough gesture by the Cardinals and, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not too different from other ballpark promotions. You buy a special ticket, you get a special cap, you go to a game. Here’s the explanation:
Pride St. Louis and the St. Louis Cardinals are partnering to present Pride Night at Busch Stadium on Friday, August 25th. Join LGBT friends, family, and allies to watch the Cardinals take on the Tampa Bay Rays. With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive a Cardinals cap with a rainbow STL logo. A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the PrideSTL Scholarship, which is awarded annually to St. Louis area students.
Nonetheless, anybody with a Facebook account knows happened next. A number of Cardinals fans were outraged that the team would do something like this. Nevermind that members of the LGBTQ community go to baseball games all the time. Nevermind that Pride Nights are pretty common around MLB and pro sports in general. Nevermind that the Cardinals cap certainly isn’t the first baseball cap to have a rainbow on it.
Nevermind that a short sampling of other theme nights the Cardinals have this season includes Boy Scout Night, Girl Scout Night, College Night, Firefighter Appreciation Night, Military Appreciation Night, Law Enforcement Appreciation Night, Teachers Night, Game of Thrones Night, Star Wars Night and Soccer Night.
Many fans upset about Pride Night invoked Bible passages or said they wouldn’t be Cardinals fans anymore. Others said “When’s straight night?” or responded like this:
Stop forcing this down my throat. They got their SCOTUS ruling. I have to live with it so enough already.
— Dominic (@PropersiDominic) June 23, 2017
Why are you doing this politically correct bs! I will stop waisting my time watching you. Over 40 years of being a fan and it's over.
— Tim Brown (@brow08877306) June 23, 2017
What a shame to be glad about this ????.
— Chava Espinosa (@chavamx) June 23, 2017
Cardinals fans have a bit of reputation, as you might know. There’s a Twitter account — @BestFansStLouis — that tracks the racist and hateful things said by Cardinals fans across the internet. To be clear here, the Cardinals aren’t the only team that have fans like this. But they’re one of the few fanbases that has this type of microscope pointed at them every day.
That being said, the @BestFansStLouis account had a busy morning. And, no surprise here, the Facebook responses were way worse than Twitter. Here’s a sampling:
This isn’t just a Cardinals problem either. Even the Oakland Athletics, in California’s progressive Bay Area, got a lot of scrutiny for their Pride Night in 2015. To combat it, Eireann Dolan — who was the then-girlfriend of A’s reliever Sean Doolittle and is now his fiancée — offered to buy tickets from any A’s fans who had tickets to the game but didn’t want to attend because it was Pride Night.
Can we stop for a second and realize how horrible all this is? Some people in this country in 2017 won’t go a baseball game because LGBTQ people will be there and will wear special caps and be acknowledged?
Newsflash for you, America: When you go to the grocery store, people from the LGBTQ community are there.
They’re at the movies with you too. They’re at the shopping mall. They’re at Target. They’re at Starbucks.
You may not be able to tell. They don’t always wear rainbow caps. But they’re there. Because they’re just like everybody else.
Some even like the same baseball team as you.
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