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Minor league baseball's Inland Empire 66ers to hold gay night

The minor league baseball team the Inland Empire 66ers in Southern California will hold their first gay pride night Friday.

The team, an affiliate of the Angels, says more than half of the promotional discounted tickets have been sold. It hopes to make "Out at the Ballpark" an annual event.

The San Bernardino team worked with the fledgling Inland Empire Pride, a lesbian and gay social group, to establish "Out at the Ballpark," said Joey Seymour, the 66ers' director of ticket operations. The group will be recognized on the electronic board at Arrowhead Credit Union Park, and someone from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will throw out the first pitch, he said.

"The smart teams like the (San Diego) Padres and the (Los Angeles) Clippers that do these things know that it sells tickets," Seymour said. "If you have a welcoming environment, you've just opened up a new fan base."

Gay days at Major League Baseball parks are routine, but there are still not that many at the minor league level. The Inland Empire is a more conservative part of Southern California, so it's great to see this happening.