Yankees the only team yet to hold a Pride Night

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Kit Ramgopal of NBC News reports that the Yankees are the only team yet to hold a Pride Night at its stadium. The Angels announced their plans to host a Pride Night in June next year, Maury Brown of Forbes reported on Tuesday. Before that announcement, the Angels and Yankees were the only two teams not yet on board.

Ramgopal spoke to David Kilmnick, the CEO of the New York-based nonprofit LGBT Network, who said, “I still thought it was important that … all New York teams show their support for the LGBT community. Kilmnick said the Yankees didn’t seem interested, saying “there wasn’t much going back and forth.” Kilmnick added, “It’s a shame that we have a team here in the greatest city in the entire country, and one of the most diverse cities in the entire country, that is not doing a Pride Night to welcome its LGBT fanbase.”

While a Pride Night may not seem important, the gesture goes a long way, especially in a sport that has had issues with homophobia, even recently. The effort to include a historically disenfranchised group helps break down barriers and helps LGBTQ fans feel safe and welcome.

Ramgopal also spoke with Brian Kitts, co-founder of nonprofit You Can Play, who said, “It’s easy to get caught up in whether or not holding a Pride Night is a sin. In a lot of ways, Pride Nights are an easy way to check a box.”

He’s right, of course. And Ramgopal points out that the Yankees have supported the LGBTQ community in other ways behind the scenes. That being said, it isn’t all that much more effort to allot one of the 81 home games.

Former player Billy Bean has served as MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion since 2014, helping Major League Baseball become more inclusive. He has been at most, if not all, of the Pride Nights the teams have hosted in the last few years. Beyond Pride Nights, he will certainly be helping the league to find more ways to open its doors to different groups of people.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.