The New York Yankees are the only one of the 10 teams in the Major League Baseball playoffs to never have held an LGBT Pride night. They are also one of three to not have such an event in 2017.
In contrast, the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs have held such an event every year since 2001. All five National League playoff teams — the Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies — had Pride events this year.
For the DBacks and Rockies, it was their first such event and maybe there was good karma, since Arizona made the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and Colorado for the first time since 2009.
In the American League, only the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins had 2017 Pride events. In addition to the Yankees, neither the Houston Astros nor Cleveland Indians had an event this year, though they have in the past.
The Yankees say they shy away from doing any kind of promotional nights and also cite examples of them working with the LGBT community. Billy Bean, an MLB executive and former player who is openly gay, told the New York Times that, “The idea of a team not hosting a pride night is not a complete assessment of its stance on inclusion, especially where baseball’s responsibility lies.”
Bean, though, sees the power in a franchise such as the Yankees holding a Pride night and says he would love to discuss one if the team asked. “It’s part of us getting better and understanding the value of being inclusive. There’s a massive significance to that message,” he said.
I agree with Bean. In the absence of openly gay MLB players, Pride nights can serve as a reminder that LGBT people are an important part of baseball’s fan base and deserve recognition. Let’s hope the Yankees step up to the plate in 2018.