When the Oakland Athletics take the mound against San Diego on June 17, the fans won't just be decked out in A's green and gold or the Padre's blue and white. Instead, the stands will be filled with rainbows to celebrate Pride Night, an event to support LGBTQ fans in the Bay Area. Spectators who buy special tickets for the event will be given rainbow wristbands featuring the A's logo. Pride Night will also honor Glenn Burke, who played for the A's (1978-79) and was the first openly gay professional baseball player.
Some A's fans and season ticket holders did not react favorably to the announcement, with many scathing comments calling the event "garbage" or warning parents to keep their kids home that night.
Eireann Dolan — girlfriend of A's pitcher Sean Doolittle and daughter of two gay moms — did not want to see Pride Night as anything less than a resounding success. When the hateful responses started rolling in, Dolan decided to take action.
Writing on her blog, Thank You Based Ball Dolan describes both of her moms as "die-hard A's fans as well as super gay." She uses this as a basis to explain her disappointment toward some of the reactions and announce her decision to buy any unwanted tickets with her own money so as to ensure that the stadium will be packed that night.
Here is a portion of her statement:
Dear season ticket holders who wish to sell their tickets for LGBT Pride Night,
Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs and as long as nobody is getting hurt, I'm happy. I also can't stop you from selling your tickets. I won't tell you that you are wrong or that you are not allowed to think or act that way. …
So, A's fans; if attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME!
If you'd like to sell your tickets to June 17th's LGBT Pride Night game, I will buy them from you at face value. As many as I can. No judgments. No questions asked.From there, I will donate any tickets I purchase to the Bay Area Youth Center's Our Space community for LGBTQ youth.
That way you don't have to feel uncomfortable, and the seats don't go to waste. It's win-win.Please tweet at me (@EireannDolan) if you'd like to sell me your tickets. I'll purchase as many unwanted tickets as I can out of my own pocket. I also encourage other A's fans to do the same. Let's fill the stands that night!
Eireann and my hella gay moms
After receiving such a great initial response, Dolan and Doolittle have also set up a GoFundMe account in order to purchase as many tickets as they can to donate to Our Space.
The couple also stated they would be personally matching funds up to $3,000. Any money raised beyond the combined $6,000 needed for tickets will be split between Our Space, Frameline, and AIDS Project East Bay. On the first day of the fundraiser, Dolan and Doolittle have brought in over $13,000.
This is far from the first Pride Night that has been held by a Major League Baseball team. The Chicago Cubs, San Fransisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and many other teams have also dedicated spirit nights to celebrating their gay fans.
[Pride flag image credited to: Peter Black]