While gay fans will be in the stands, the Inland Empire 66ers Minor League Baseball team now say they are not sponsoring Friday's "Out at the Ballpark" event. They say the news two days ago was because of an overzealous employee. From the Riverside Press-Enterprise:
The Inland Empire 66ers were doing damage control Thursday when a controversy erupted after a team official said a gay and lesbian fan night was sponsored by the 66ers.
Kevin Shaw, vice president of marketing for the San Bernardino minor-league baseball team, said tonight's "Out at the Ballpark" was not an official 66ers event and that a flier distributed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations, gay-supportive churches and other groups was not cleared with top team executives. The flier includes the 66ers' logo.
Shaw blamed ticket manager Joey Seymour for publicizing the event as team-sanctioned. P.J. Seleska, executive director of Inland Empire Pride, said "she was upset when she learned Seymour was promoting what was conceived as a Pride outing as a 66ers event," saying her group initiated the event. The story was on the front page of the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, and generated a bunch of comments on the paper's website.
Friday's game also happens to be Boy Scout night, a group that bans gay scouts and scoutmasters. At least one mother of a Boy Scout said her family would not attend now that the gays were present. But there was a more enlightened view:
Joseph Daniszewski, scout executive and CEO of the Boy Scouts' California Inland Empire Council, said he isn't concerned and will attend the game with his wife and 16-year-old Eagle Scout son.
"I just think it's great people want to go to a baseball game," Daniszewski said. "I think it will be a nice night for baseball."
The team said that there is still a section reserved for people who bought tickets through the Out at the Ballpark event, and that if more than 100 tickets were sold, the group can have a member throw out the first pitch; it is unclear if that will happen since the last ticket count the newspaper got was 80.