By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor
For the first time in history, the San Diego Padres are hosting a “Pride Night.” It takes place during their home game against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 1, with the first pitch at 7:10 p.m.
Not to be confused with the annual “Out at the Park” event — which takes place in the spring and always includes an afternoon tailgate party before the game — the new “Pride Night” event is being organized specifically by the Padres.
“‘Out at the Park’ has been an annual group ticket sales event organized by San Diego Pride for a number of years,” said Wayne Partello, Padres senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “This year, ‘Pride Night’ was added as one of a number of new group theme nights developed to provide opportunities for fans to come together for a unique experience at Petco Park.”
Partello said fans who purchase tickets through the padres.com/pride link will also enjoy a special networking opportunity with the Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA) held at the “Park at the Park” that evening. In addition, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will sing the national anthem before the game, and the first 1,000 fans to purchase tickets for Pride Night will get a limited edition Pride-themed ball cap. Note: Those caps won’t be available at the gate; Pride Night ticket-buyers will be notified via email where to pick up their specialty caps. You’ll need to bring your receipt.
“$5 of every Pride Night ticket purchased will be donated to San Diego Pride, GSDBA and the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus,” Partello said.
“San Diego has long been a city that embraces its diversity,” San Diego Pride executive director Stephen Whitburn said in a press release. “We are so pleased that the San Diego Padres are creating this opportunity to officially celebrate San Diego’s LGBT community and its allies, and we are looking forward to a fun night at Petco Park.”
The San Diego Padres are one of the first Major League Baseball (MLB) teams to publicly support equality measures in sports and did so before a game last April.
“Earlier this season, the Padres organization, in conjunction with the San Diego Unified School District, took the Athlete Ally pledge, which promotes an inclusive environment among San Diego school teams, regardless of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity,” Partello said. “We wanted to set an example for students and student-athletes to treat all teammates and fans with respect.”
The MLB has also made strides in its support of equality, recently appointing retired — and now openly gay — MLB player Billy Bean as the “MLB Ambassador of Inclusion.” Bean played in the MLB from 1987–95, including a stint with the Padres, and publicly came out as gay in 1999.
Partello said that in his role, Bean has been a resource for the Padres, as well as all clubs in the MLB.
“He provides guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the LGBT community throughout Major League Baseball, and he also develops educational training initiatives against sexism, homophobia and prejudice,” he said. “He spoke to players during spring training and will be visiting Petco Park and addressing the Padres’ front office on Aug. 21.”
Partello said Bean is not expected to be in attendance for Pride Night on Sept. 1.
—Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at email@example.com.