Why are the Yankees One of the Only Teams Never to Hold a Gay Pride Event?
While LGBT pride nights are a current occurrence in ball parks across the United States, a new article asks the question: why haven’t the Yankees gone up to bat with one, too?
The New York Yankees are one of the most popular and most successful sports teams in the world. New York City is home to not only the elite Yankees, but also the birthplace of the LGBT rights movement. You would think the Yankees would recognize the city’s history by hosting an LGBT pride night. Other teams have done so, like the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Nationals and Mets.
“If big-market teams like the Dodgers, Cubs and Nationals can do it, it begs the question: Why aren’t the Yankees doing it?” said Bill Gubrud, who helped organize the Cubs’ event at Wrigley Field.
“Everyone of every nationality, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation and/or preference is welcome at Yankee Stadium every day,” Jason Zillo, a team spokesman, said in a statement. “We are a long-term believer in diversity and inclusion, and have always looked to create a safe and supportive environment for all fans to enjoy their experience here.”
“Pride night was more than about ticket sales and it’s more than just another theme night or promotion night,” David Kilmnick, the chief executive of the LGBT Network, said. “It was about having a place at the ballpark for the LGBT community to come down and feel safe, and believe — especially for the younger people — that they could be a major leaguer and not hide.”
During spring training last year, Kilmnick met with Yankees reps at a diversity meeting. He pitched them for 15 minutes on the idea of a pride event.
“I haven’t received any interest,” he added.
Kilmnick was surprised to learn that the Yankees had never had such an event, especially with the clout they have in the community.
“The Mets have been the underdog and the Yankees have been the elite,’’ he said. “In that way it doesn’t surprise me. You’d think the Mets would come out for those underdogs in society, but I think it’s time the Yankees stand up and do something for the LGBT fans and the Bronx.”
The article also points to tradition:
The Yankees, not unlike their uniforms, which look essentially the same on Aaron Judge as they did on Joe DiMaggio, are often not quick to change. They have been steadfast in their decades-old grooming policy, which keeps players from having long hair or beards. And while the Mets and other teams have extended netting down the foul lines this season in an effort to further protect fans from foul balls and shattered bats, the Yankees have not taken that step.
Adding a dash of rainbow to a Yankees’ jersey may not keep up with their usual appearances. But, it would be a strong statement made by one of the sports world’s preeminent teams. There has yet to be an openly gay major league baseball player. Maybe seeing the Yankees sissy that walk for one-night-only would provide the inspiration needed to make that grand slam.