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Cardinals receive criticism for inviting Lance Berkman to “Christian Day”


Joe Holleman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have received criticism, including from LGBTQ avocates, for inviting former slugger Lance Berkman to “Christian Day” at Busch Stadium, scheduled for July 30.

In September 2015, Berkman foolishly advocated against public accommodations for transgender people to use public bathrooms. In an ad in which he appeared, Berkman referred to transgender people as “troubled men.” He fearmongered, suggesting that transgender people would violate women’s privacy and lead to violence. However, there have been no documented cases of transgender people attacking people in public restrooms, contrary to what some pundits would have you believe.

Berkman spoke to Craig the next month and said,  “To me, tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country. We’re tolerant of everything.”

So, Berkman’s track record on LGBTQ issues isn’t exactly sterling. It was no surprise, then, that Pride Center of St. Louis issued a public statement, via OutSports, which read:

Pride St. Louis is disappointed by the decision of the St. Louis Cardinals to provide a public platform for Berkman, an individual whose words and actions towards the LGBTQ+ are divisive and demeaning. We know that the Cardinals can do better, and we want to extend an offer to help them by co-organizing their official LGBT Pride Night at Busch Stadium. Let’s work together to promote love, diversity, and inclusion.

The Cardinals issued a statement of their own, defending their choice to invite Berkman:

The Cardinals have hosted a Christian Day at the ballpark for nearly three decades. Lance Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was a Cardinals player, and we welcome him back this year to discuss his faith.

The Cardinals said they will also host a Pride Night “later this season.” Vice president Ron Watermon said he hopes the night will be scheduled by late August.

It’s one thing to allow two different groups to have their own themed events at the ballpark; it’s another to invite a public figure who actively denounces members of other groups. For a silly hypothetical example, let’s say the Cardinals will also host Cats Night and Dogs Night. Both can peacefully coexist. But if the Dogs invite a figure who’s incredibly anti-Cat and questions the Cats’ right to exist in public, then the Cats don’t feel included and supported even if they’re given their own themed night. The Cardinals are a business, and in going through with inviting Berkman, they are risking alienating the section of their fan base that also intersects with LGBTQ. They have every right to continue to invite Berkman, but fans also have every right to speak with their wallets by not showing up at the ballpark and buying merchandise. Is it worth it? I guess we’ll find out.

Giants fans will have to pay a surcharge to park at Athletics games

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Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.

This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.

Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.