The Arkansas Travelers’ season, affiliated with Double-A in the Seattle Mariners, is now over. And for at least one fan, it ended up on a bad note, regardless of the team’s performance on the field.
There are several things that would potentially make minor league baseball more attractive compared to a major league game, especially for casual fans. The cost, from tickets to food to parking, is a much better value in a small league game. There are also significantly more opportunities to watch a minor league game, with nearly 120 affiliated clubs, compared to just 30 MLB teams. For the vast majority of fans, the end result will not affect them in nearly the same way it would on a large football field. In many ways, it is a much more welcoming place for everyone compared to its more serious professional counterpart. Well, in theory, it should be a much more welcoming place.
The other day, SofieBallgame, who might you remember Send Jesse Winker’s Pizzabrought to our attention that Arkansas travelers ended up missing their scheduled Pride Night this season with a few threads on Twitter.
If you want the TL version; DR, Travs has partnered with Central Arkansas Pride to get someone from the LGBTQIA+ community to throw their first “Out Days” event promotion at Central Arkansas Pride. When the Central Arkansas Pride suggested that the drag queen throw the field, the Travis family turned down the offer, asking them to pick someone else. CAP declined, saying that sending someone to replace his original, seemingly unacceptable selection was incompatible with his mission to increase visibility and diversity, and the entire event was cancelled. It’s worth noting that they have Sophie, a non-binary person who kicked out the first pitch earlier this season after Jesse Winker received Sophie’s pizza nod, it went viral and the Mariners’ famous event, but it’s clear that drag queen is where the Travs draw the line with The LGBTQ+ community, even while other teams like the White Sox and Red Sox – Red Sox! – She has drag queens on the hill.
Travis was comfortable celebrating Sophie and her pervasive moment, as well as the prospect of bringing fans into the field through the first pitch, but that same comfort does not seem to extend to the person presenting in a way that Travis considers unacceptable or offensive to families, in an unpleasant throwback to the politics of respect and an era of “no” You ask, don’t tell.” Travis reported that they are ok to spotlight an eccentric person, as long as that person presents in a way that Travis deems acceptable or “family friendly.” This line of thought reverberates in conservative or far-right circles that have explicitly targeted drag queens over the past several months, with many events protesting or canceling due to popular pressure or Made credible threats Because of the presence of drag queens that are simply located in close proximity to the children, Including a minor league match in July
Travs’ decision to refuse to kick the drag queen off court one becomes even more curious when you consider the history of drag shows at Little Rock. there Article on Ruth Cocker Borks, a woman who took care of hundreds of abandoned gay men during the AIDS epidemic. The article states that a lot of the financial outlays for their care came from gay clubs and money that is to come, particularly from drag shows on Saturday nights, “that’s how we buy medicine, that’s how we pay the rent,” she said. “If not for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.”
Travis just released a statement of their own about what happened:
“Travelers Arkansas has always been and always will be a place for all fans. We work with a number of 501c3 nonprofits in Dickey-Stephens Park including hosting a Pride Night event in 2019 with Central Arkansas Pride. Although we enjoyed working with them in preparation for an event in 2022, however we respect and understand their decision to cancel the event this season. We will continue to create a safe and welcoming environment for all fans entering Dickie Stevens Park and look forward to working with Central Arkansas Pride in the future.”
Travelers contradict themselves in the first line of this statement, which should read “has been and always will be a place for all fans, provided they conform to our values.” The drag queens obviously cannot be baseball fans, or at least not the type to be welcomed into the park, which contradicts the statement’s later insistence that their goal is to create a “safe and welcoming environment for all fans.” It is this later point, reiterating, that emphasizes which fans are given priority here.
Even passionate Travs fans like Sofie have become uncomfortable in the stadium simply because of who they are, which does not fit with Travs’ mission of creating a safe and welcoming place for all fans.
But for people to realize that, you have to welcome them. A lot of times I get subtle perceptions from folks at DSP (yes I know, it’s Arkansas), but the feeling I get is that these fanatics are more welcome than I am in the morning.
– Sophie ️ (sofieballgame) September 16, 2022
In contrast, earlier this season Travis Jeb Robertson called Ducks breed Fame for giving his first presentation and getting autograph and question-and-answer session with him on Faith and Family Night. Robertson is the son of Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the aforementioned dynasty, who has a style From making racist and homophobic comments And even after being suspended by A&E for his comments, he doubled down on his belief that homosexuality is a “sin” and gay people are “guilty.”
The Travs are excited to announce that Duck Dynasty’s Jep Robertson will be joining us for Faith & Family Night June 11!
Robertson will engage in a moderated pre-match Q&A before the Travs take on the Wichita Wind Surge.
Arkansas Travelers (ARTravs) May 31, 2022
While Gibb wasn’t the one making the comments, he came out with a pretty quick endorsement: “We’re not quite as candid as my dad, but I’m definitely in class. If someone asks, I tell them what the Bible says.”
Inviting someone to blatantly spit in opposition to the beliefs of the LGBTQ+ community is in contradiction to Travs’ primary statement that the stadium is a safe and welcoming place for “all fans”. You can’t say one thing when you say your actions and who you put your energy behind and encourage otherwise. This is not a “both sides” issue when one party believes the other shouldn’t exist.
Even if the Travs allow the drag queen to throw the first pitch, they still don’t meet the minimum set by many other teams to actually host their Pride Night, rather than move it to a pre-match moment. We have actual examples of minor league teams putting in the effort and going above and beyond, like the Worcester Red Sox having an actual pre-match draw show and a weird history at the Worcester Show, Among many other thingsBeside Loud statements of support on social media, showing how wide the gulf between what acceptance and integration in society might look like and where travelers failed. This isn’t necessarily a regional difference either; Several small teams across the South hosted Pride Knights this year.
While other Texas League and MiLB teams across the southern United States proudly host Pride Nights, there’s no excuse for that. Very interested to know what Tweet embed I have to say on this. pic.twitter.com/56qZsklEYP
– Sophie ️ (sofieballgame) September 15, 2022
In addition to catering to the needs of LGBTQIA+ fans and creating a more welcoming environment, the decision to have a Pride Night also means creating a safer space for those who might not publicly admit they are going to a Pride event or just those fans who feel more comfortable in a crowd that doesn’t look like the usual crowd at Baseball. Creating a more welcoming environment for everyone is a non-zero reason for NWSL and the WNBA It has seen the growth it has achieved over recent years. And while canceling the Pride Night event is an understandable decision by CAP to align with their values, it also means losing such a night to individuals who have been looking forward to celebrating the night, from those who are outside and are proud of those who are merely discovering their identities or those who agonize over this sense of community but are They feel that they cannot participate publicly for any reason. They all lost in this space. And for at least one fan, the damage done by this series of events reverberates towards the end of the season, and possibly beyond.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, loving a sport and an organization that never seems to love people like me again can be really cruel at times. I don’t know how to put it.
– Sophie ️ (sofieballgame) September 16, 2022
Baseball has a long history of catering to a very specific type of fan. Its continuation effectively harms the game and does not allow it to grow, as well as creating an unwelcome environment for such a large group of people. Baseball Travs and minor league could do much better at creating a safer environment for the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s hard to unravel the deeply rooted history of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia in baseball with just a night of pride here or there. It will take real time and effort, but you have to start by putting in even an ounce of effort. Travs fail in this arena. It’s 2022; It shouldn’t be considered controversial to throw your entire support behind the LGBTQIA+ community, even if it’s just for one night. We hope that travelers will be able to embrace this and progress better and truly create a welcoming environment, says their PR statement, in order to All fans.