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Friday, May 30, 2008

Why Not a Gay Night at Safeco Field?

posted by on May 30 at 10:36 AM

The Mariners code of conduct for fans famously bans “displays of affection not appropriate in a public, family setting.” Well, fans at the ballpark are banned from engaging in skeezy PDA anyway—at home I can watch the game in a sling, if I like. But since “family” is often right-wing code for “anti-gay” (see: “family values,” “Family Research Council,” “the traditional family”), while I had her on the phone I took the opportunity to ask Rebecca Hale, Director of Public Information for the Seattle Mariners, just how the Mariners organization defines the word “family.”

“I don’t know,” Hale replied after a short pause.

My boyfriend and I have season tickets and we take our 10 year-old son to the ballpark all the time. Do we qualify as a “family” at Safeco Field?

“We need all the fans we can get right now,” said Hale. “So we’re not going to discriminate against anybody based on any classification at all—age, race, religion, sexual orientation. We are welcoming to all individuals and we want to create an atmosphere at the ballpark where everyone feels welcome and everyone can come and have a good time.”

In the interests of making sure queer fans feel welcome, the Giants, Padres, Oakland As, Dodgers—basically every other MLB team on the West Coast—all have officially sponsored and recognized gay nights or pride nights at their ballparks. So do the Colorado Rockies (“Pride Night at Coors Field”), the Chicago Cubs (“Out at the Ballgame”), the Chicago White Sox (“Gay Games Night”), the Boston Red Sox (“Out at Fenway Park”), and lots of other teams. Since the Mariners want everyone to feel welcome, and seeing as Seattle has the largest gay community per-capita next to San Francisco, how come the Seattle Mariners don’t have a gay night?

“I don’t know,” said Hale. “I don’t think it’s a situation where we have made a decision that we are not going to do that. I honestly can’t tell you why it hasn’t happened.”

Considering the uproar over this contested lesbian kiss, the murkiness surrounding just what the Ms mean by “family setting,” and the Ms’ stated desire to make sure everyone feels welcome at Safeco Field, maybe now would be a good time for the Ms to follow the lead of the Giants (“LGBT Night Out”), Dodgers (“Gay & Lesbian Night at Dodger Stadium”), Padres (“Pride Night at Petco Park”), et al, and launch a gay night at Safeco Field.

“I’ve got no issue with that,” said Hale. “It works for me. I’d be happy to talk it over with marketing and promotions and the folks that usually work to create the events in the ballpark. I’m happy to do that.”

Hale promised to talk with her marketing and promotions people next week, and get back to me by Friday.

RSS icon Comments

“We need all the fans we can get right now,” said Hale. “So we’re not going to discriminate against anybody based on any classification at all—age, race, religion, sexual orientation.

Nice. So, if they kicked major fucking ass and didn't need "all the fans they could get", they would discriminate?

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 30, 2008 10:44 AM

why not gay disco night at Safeco? I'd go in a heartbeat!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 30, 2008 10:44 AM

In other news of interest to certain slog readers: "Ranchos Bravo Tacos located at 211 NE 45th St. in Seattle closed on May 21, 2008 was reopened for business on May 28, 2008 by a Public Health food inspector after confirming that all reasons for closure have been resolved."

(When will there be a Ranchos Bravo Tacos kiss-in?)

Posted by stinkbug | May 30, 2008 10:45 AM

If the Mariners won't designate a gay night, the community should organize one anyway.

Posted by happy renter | May 30, 2008 10:48 AM

If you're going to talk baseball, you might as well learn that there are 6 MLB teams on the West Coast, not 4 as you implied. You left out the A's and Angels.

Posted by joykiller | May 30, 2008 10:52 AM

" home I can watch the game in a sling, if I like..."

The imagery of this made me giggle. Dan, trussed up in a sling, wearing one of those beer can sippy hats, watching the Mariners lose.

Posted by laterite | May 30, 2008 10:54 AM

During Pride Week would be a perfect time. Do they have a home game then?

Posted by crazycatguy | May 30, 2008 10:55 AM

The Mariners have the worst on-field team and the most backwards management and front office. It only makes sense that they would have the most backwards views on gays.

The stupid "Kiss-Cam" I see at every game shoves a heterosexual agenda down my throat. The Wave shoves a "standing up for no reason while I'm trying to eat my hot dog" agenda down my throat. They should get rid of those things.

Posted by kebabs | May 30, 2008 11:00 AM

Good job, Dan. Stranger activism journalism for the big gay win!

Posted by NaFun | May 30, 2008 11:01 AM

#6 - LA, SF and SD are actually on the ocean. Oakland and Anaheim, like Seattle, are not. Consequently, they are part of bitter, homophobic, middle America. Following this pattern, I expect an expansion team in Honolulu to have a Pride night, and an expansion team in Bakersfield to not.

Posted by jon c | May 30, 2008 11:01 AM

I am a happily straight male, but would gladly participate in a kiss-in w/ a male at a game - in the name of solidarity.

How about Monday? I have some great tickets behind home plate - great potential for TV exposure!

I didn't know all those parks had out-nights. the M's better get on it.

Posted by gay4play | May 30, 2008 11:03 AM

Well, if the M's are sitting around in their marketing meeting, discussing how to get all the fans that they can into the ballpark to salvage what they can of their budget in this hereto stinko campaign, reaching out to the gay fanbase would certainly be cheaper than signing Ken Griffey Jr.

A question: Are teetotaling fags allowed/encouraged/endured to keep it real in section 103 - The Family Section?

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | May 30, 2008 11:03 AM

wait wait...what is this "contested lesbian kiss"?

Posted by kt | May 30, 2008 11:14 AM

@10, fair enough.

Perhaps this whole brouhaha is an argument in favor of instant replay in baseball. Then we'd know which side is telling the truth!

Posted by joykiller | May 30, 2008 11:20 AM

Dan... Didn't you get the memo? One of the (many) benefits of being a Certified Grade A Card Carrying Faggot is that you (and I) don't have to (pretend to) care about baseball...

I'll go get married if it will make you feel better. I'll watch and march in pride parades and buy from pro gay advertisers. I'll put a rainbow sticker on my bumper and think about watching Ellen, and Project Runway (and actually watch Nip-Tuck). I'll buy into questionable fashion trends and stay at shady gay bed and breakfasts. I'll over achieve and over compensate, over spend and over drink. I'll obsess over my weight, hairline, wealth, clothes and address. I'll go to musicals, own recordings by Judy and Liza (and listen to The Scissor Sisters) and do endless DIY home improvement projects. I'll memorize Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde quotes. I would even adopt a child if I didn't think it would be to hard on my furniture.

But I will not go to a baseball game. Not for you. Not for the Gay Agenda. Not for anyone.

Please don't try to make me... It can only end badly for both of us.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | May 30, 2008 11:26 AM

Good work Dan. Keep on them. The Bavasi led M's are a disgrace on the field and off.

The M's just added Latin nights. So tomorrow they will all wear MARINERO jerseys. There is no reason they can not add a GAY night out at the ball park. This is Seattle!

I have no doubt that the majority of M's fan will get behind this. Man, to tell you the truth, some good solid activism will be welcomed by many just to take away from the hideousness we see on the field.

Youre actually pretty cool when youre not advocating deportations of Belgian citizens or are not quoting Sullivan.

Posted by SeMe | May 30, 2008 11:28 AM
“We need all the fans we can get right now,” said Hale. “So we’re not going to discriminate against anybody based on any classification at all—age, race, religion, sexual orientation."

Wow, that's an astonishingly bad answer.

Posted by Gabriel | May 30, 2008 11:48 AM

Yeah!! Why should LGBTs be picked on like this at a baseball game?

Maybe it makes it easier to enforce arbitrary morality when presidential candidates advocate for separate and equal solutions.

Maybe there should be an LGBT section at the stadium where we can be granted the same access while allowing hetero ball fans to maintain their moral purity.

Just let the people work it out...why are you grousing?? Is baseball more important than politics? Are integrated drinking fountains more important than equal protection rights for marriage?

Posted by patrick | May 30, 2008 11:53 AM

they could give away Mike Piazza Bobbleheads

Posted by brett | May 30, 2008 12:01 PM

YAY! Thanks Dan, I hope they do have a gay night, that would be fun, and besides when I was at game last week, they sure did play Madonna "Hung Up" pretty loud. I'm just sayin'.

bravo! Come on Mariners do it!

Posted by NikT22 | May 30, 2008 12:05 PM

Middle America does a helluva lot better than Seattle when it comes to gays and baseball. The Cubs have had a Gay Day at Wrigley Field for years now, and Wrigley Field has never wanted for business.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | May 30, 2008 12:05 PM

I'm fairly certain that an usher in the section where I usually sit is a tranny. So that's a start.

Posted by Explorer | May 30, 2008 12:07 PM

There is a game on June 30th against the Blue Jays, that would be a good night, the day after Pride.

Posted by NikT22 | May 30, 2008 12:08 PM

If you're a registered couple with the city of Seattle, you're a Family.


If not, it's lawsuit time.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 12:13 PM

While 'banning' any small display of affection made between 'mos is totally, 100% indefensible, as a total, 100% 'mo myself I hate the idea of a "gay day" at any event.

Are fags still in the era of self-segregation? We've got this fucking amazing generation (that I, myself am part of) of sexually-aware fags coming out at younger ages amongst peers who don't give a shit about the whether you smoke pole or muff dive- it's sending the completely wrong message to them that the way to right a slight against gay people is to throw a big gay party.

This is the generation of integration, where people, gay and straight, stop putting up these stupid barriers based on sexuality. Clearly, it's going to take some time to reach the upper echelons of organizations, but in the meantime how about we do this tactfully, instead of just throwing a big fucking faggy party at a baseball field? When I have a kid, I definitely don't want them to think gays have to segregate themselves in society.

Posted by Tdub | May 30, 2008 12:16 PM

The Blue Jays have a gay day: "Play with Pride Night."

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2008 12:17 PM

Dan is there anyone we can email to help encourage a gay night at Safeco? I think we should voice our opinions to the Mariners.

Posted by NikT22 | May 30, 2008 12:18 PM

@18 - maybe they could have separate water fountains and bathrooms for LGBTs as well, and we could mark them with signs that say "Straight" and "Not Straight" ...

And we could make sure only straights can sit on the bar stools in front of the sushi stand ...

(hoping someone on SLOG knows what apartheid is and was in the US south ...)

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 12:18 PM

We don't, Tdub, anymore than Latins do. And it wouldn't just be gays at the ballgame that night. Straights could come too. It is, however, a statement that the team recognizes their gay fans, welcomes their support, and is willing to make their appreciation for their gay fans visible.

And that's important—if only to life the curse that settled over Safeco after Hutcherson staged his rally for marriage and family there a few years back. Hey, anyone know how the Ms have done since that rally? Was allowing Ken Hutcherson to stage his anti-gay hate rally at Safeco to the Ms what tossing out that billy goat was to the Cubs?

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2008 12:20 PM

Dan said the Latins. =)

So do u mean the degos, portuguese, Spaniards, French or us Latinos?

But youre spot on with your post. I never feel segregrated on Latino night. And I need to get me one of those MARINERO jerseys.

Posted by SeMe | May 30, 2008 12:32 PM

Will, please. They're not throwing a gay-only night at Wrigley and then banning gays the rest of the season. Your comparison of pride nights at ballparks to segregation or apartheid is ridiculous.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2008 12:32 PM

Dan - I hadn't considered that the bad juju from Hutcherson could be the source of the M's jinx. It's our civic duty to help the M's turn it around.

to Mr Clydesdale @ 12: yes, those 103 section seats have seen man-to-man handholding and arms-over-the husband's-shoulder. I think those are some of the best seats for watching the hot outfielders

Posted by jackseattle | May 30, 2008 12:53 PM

Just postulating here - but Mariners are owned by Nintendo. The Japanese culture is homophobic in general. Maybe this is the origin of their reluctance.

Posted by White Guy who works for a Conservative Japanese Company | May 30, 2008 1:13 PM

Does someone have the time to do a chart tracking the M's fortunes from five years before Ken Hutcherson's rally at Safeco and up to now? It would be interesting to see if Hutch is the curse...

"Mayday for Marriage" took place on May 1, 2004. (And the Stranger rented a plane pulling a "Bigots Out of Our Ballpark!" banner over the field during the rally -- our first loveletter to Ken!). How have the Ms done since then? Any stats-mad baseball nuts out there care to create a chart for us?

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2008 1:27 PM

The M's have sucked the last 5 years. There.

Posted by SeMe | May 30, 2008 1:38 PM

The last time I was anywhere near going into Safeco Field was years ago. I was with my partner - and many others - picketing out front as those dumbass "Mayday for Marriage" religious idiots were using the stadium for their big anti-gay pep rally. Don't our taxes help pay for that facility? If so, is the discrimination that happens there legal?

Posted by bucket | May 30, 2008 1:45 PM

@31 - my reference was to the whole "gay couples can't kiss" aspect when straight couples were kissing (and even more PDA) in the same section.

If you can't drink from the same water fountain and sit at the counter with the white folks, you're not being treated equally, no matter how "equal" they say it is.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 2:39 PM

@33 - my son and I together own 500 direct shares of Nintendo (NTDOY.PK) ... you think we should write Investor Relations?

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 30, 2008 2:41 PM

Yay to Dan, but geez, aren't there some pro-gay organizations around here who can help Dan pressure the Mariners? Anyone?

Posted by la | May 30, 2008 5:19 PM

tomorrow they will all wear MARINERO jerseys

What will they wear on gay day?

Posted by Mike in MO | May 30, 2008 9:14 PM

Marina jerseys? Rainbow jocks?

Posted by Dan Savage | May 30, 2008 9:40 PM

Anyone can sit in the Family sections. The only thing special about those sections (at least according to the Mariners' website) is that no alcohol is allowed. Conceivably -- I'm just guessing here -- they might enforce rules like the one against cursing the umps a little extra carefully, but there's no reason to imagine they would care about sexual orientation (let alone any way of enforcing it).

Posted by Bruce | June 1, 2008 12:06 AM

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