The New York Yankees and L.A. Angels are the only two Major League Baseball teams to never have held an LGBTQ Pride event. Both teams have announced plans for such games in 2019, with the Yankees also announcing a scholarship program
The Yankees announced the creation of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative, which will coincide with the 50 anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots that helped usher in the modern gay rights movement.
“The Yankees-Stonewall initiative will provide $50,000 worth of scholarships through five $10,000 college scholarships to be presented to one student from each of the five boroughs of New York City,” the team said in a release.
“The scholarships are intended to allow these students the resources to fulfill their educational and career goals. The selection process will be conducted by the New York City Department of Education with public high schools being able to nominate one graduating senior from each school for selection. Further details regarding the nomination process will be announced by the N.Y.C. Department of Education at a later date.
“The implementation of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative is a result of a collaboration between the New York Yankees, Stonewall Inn, N.Y.C. Department of Education and N.Y.C. Council Speaker Corey Johnson.” Johnson is openly gay.
This is a terrific idea and will make the Pride event more meaningful than a one-off game. It will initially be only a commitment for one year, though the Yankees hope to keep it going. The award winners will be celebrated at a game sometime during the June 17-26, 2019, homestand.
“Through this initiative we are proud to recognize the profound historical impact of Stonewall and celebrate the many meaningful contributions of the LGBTQ community,” said Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner.
“The Yankees wholeheartedly support equality for all individuals and applaud any efforts which make our society more inclusive and tolerant. It is our hope that this scholarship program will serve as a springboard for young LGBTQ student community members and advocates as they continue the pursuit of their dreams, ambitions and livelihoods.”
While the Yankees are way late in holding a Pride event, the scholarships can be a terrific legacy, provided they continue past 2019. The Yankees are valued at $4 billion, so giving $50,000 a year to worthy LGBTQ students won’r hurt the bottom line a bit and bring them more in good will.