With Pride Month currently in stride, many Major League Baseball organizations have made efforts to recognize and celebrate Pride. June 11, just under two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants became the first two teams to wear pride caps in the same game, according to CBS.
But before that historic night at Oracle Park in San Francisco — May 9, to be specific — the Los Angeles Dodgers took to Twitter to announce that the team would wear pride caps for the first time at Dodger Stadium on June 3.
Of course, the celebration of Pride month that sees MLB teams hold Pride Days and Nights is not new to the MLB. But, a team that dons pride colors on a uniform or hat is new: The San Francisco Giants were the first to ever wear pride colors, and that happened just last year.
The MLB does not mandate its 30-ball clubs to have a Pride event or to wear the pride colors on their uniforms. This is evident given that the Texas Rangers have yet to schedule a Pride-specific event or game since 2003. Five players on the Tampa Bay Rays team made the choice to not wear the colors at all on their Pride Night this season.
While some teams aren’t batting an eye at supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the question is raised as to why some teams aren’t as receptive and are left behind. And even so, why is this the first time the MLB teams take the field in pride colors this season?
Legislation to legalize gay marriage in the United States was approved June 26, 2015. This goes to show that the powers at be have taken a long time to normalize the progression of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, and that bigger steps are yet to be taken by institutions across the country.
This is the case for the MLB as well. The Giants became the first team to take the field in pride colors back in 2021. Although many teams have Pride events, the 2022 season sees only three teams in pride colors (Dodgers, Giants and Rays). Other teams either gave away promotional merchandise to attendees or donated money from ticket sales to LGBTQ+ related foundations.
It may have been a historic and progressive evening for the Dodgers and Giants to wear pride caps on the same night, but much work remains. Many teams are still due to host a Pride event this month, but it isn’t encouraging that teams like the Dodgers and Giants are no longer wearing pride colors on their hats following the night of June 11. A monthlong celebration has been reduced to a daylong event.
As the MLB fan base waits to see if the last two teams standing will hold a Pride-specific event in the future or not, there is also anticipation to see if the rest of MLB teams will follow suit. Will other teams also opt to wear pride colors on uniforms or hats as the Dodgers, Giants and Rays have done this season?
Despite the fact that some teams have yet to join the rest of the MLB to explicitly show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by having a Pride event or donning the colors, the historic night shared between the usual rivals of the Dodgers and Giants paves the way for a league that is played almost exclusively by cisgender male athletes.