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Rockies’ Daniel Murphy ‘helping’ to raise money for LGBTQ causes

Every time Colorado Rockies slugger Daniel Murphy hits, walks, starts or even sits out a game, a fan-led effort donates money to LGBTQ charities

Is Daniel Murphy really supporting the LGBTQ? The fine print on @BasesForPride’s image says “unbenownst to him”
Twitter @BasesForPride

The name Daniel Murphy, the Colorado Rockies lefty first baseman, hasn’t ever appeared in headlines containing the words “raise money for LGBTQ causes.” Until now.

The headlines about Murphy and the LGBTQ community are typically about the devout Christian’s 2015 remark to the New York Daily News, back when he played for the New York Mets. Murphy was asked about meeting MLB Vice President and out gay man Billy Bean, and declared: “I disagree with the lifestyle.”

Well, four Rockies fans disagree with that homophobic stance, and following in the footsteps of queer Washington Nationals fan and donation pioneer Jenn Rubenstein — more about them later — they decided to do something about it. They’re organizing donations through the Twitter hashtag #BasesForPride and the @BasesForPride Twitter account, to causes benefiting the LGBTQ community.

Since March 29, these fans say they have raised $1,568.95. Or maybe we should say, Daniel Murphy did, every time the slugger did something. Options include hits, homers, walks, starting, even his time on the injured list.

Outsports reached out to the organizers through Twitter DM, especially to ask what’s “official” about this. Turns out, shocker! It’s not.

“No! Just a cheeky thing I guess,” said Rockies fan Connor Farrell. “We wanted to compile as many pledges together on the document and thought the hashtag would help us catch that.”

“We” is Farrell, Nick Stephens, Nick Tremaroli and Judy Steele. Together they created “the document” Farrell referred to, a Google Doc spreadsheet that tracks donors and pledges.

According to Farrell, he, Tremaroli and Steele are cisgender straight allies. “Nick [Stephens] identifies as Bi, otherwise we are all cis het,” he said. Their Twitter profile says, “We’re Colorado Rockies fans who are committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community. We are not associated with Daniel Murphy in any official capacity.”

“So, Murphy doesn’t really know about it!” Farrell told Outsports. “He’s not donating. It’s a fan thing we just gathered together.” Murphy signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Rockies in December. And it wasn’t long after that Farrell and friends added a rainbow filter to his official team roster photo and made that their official Twitter profile pic.

Daniel Murphy team roster photo as seen on @BasesForPride’s Twitter page.
Twitter @BasesForPride

On Sunday. Murphy hit a three-run homer against the Braves. It wasn’t enough to win, but he certainly helped the #BasesForPride cause, bringing in $485 in pledges.

Upon seeing this story, some Outsports readers let us know this is not exactly an original concept. A queer Washington Nationals fan by the name of Jenn Rubenstein started their own effort to tie Murphy’s performance to donations to LGBTQ causes in 2015. Jordan Ryan Pedersen wrote about it for Mel magazine in November 2018. Rubenstein, a speech pathologist in Washington, D.C. who identifies as queer/nonbinary, has been tweeting about their strategy as Queer#FancyStats since May 2016 and their Wordpress blog dates back to April 2016.

Rubenstein expanded their efforts upon reading about past anti-LGBTQ behavior by the Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader, the Atlanta Braves’ Sean Newcomb, and others. Their donations have gone to LGBTQ causes in D.C., Milwaukee, Atlanta, and other cities.

Farrell said most of the money pledged by @BasesForPride followers goes to One Colorado and the LGBT Community Center in Denver. Any donation is accepted, from 50-cents for every game on the IL to $10 for a homerun. One anonymous fan pledged a donation equivalent to Murphy’s weighted on-base average (wOBA), a concept borrowed from Rubenstein and described by Pedersen as “an advanced metric that tries to credit hitters for the value of outcomes — singles, doubles, triples, home runs, etc. — instead of treating all instances of getting on base the same.”

“It’s a way for people to make a positive impact when Murphy’s comments were alienating to so many baseball fans in the LGBT community,” said Farrell.

Others are welcome, whether they be in Denver or elsewhere; fans can assign their pledge money to the charity of their choosing.

“One thing we’re letting everyone do is manage their own donation location,” Farrell said, and each fan is responsible for making their own donation. “Some people are donating after every event that they’ve pledged occurs and others are donating weekly or monthly,” added Steele. “Everyone has different cash flow, so we don’t want people to feel pressured to donate on our schedule. We are encouraging people to include either the hashtag or our @BasesForPride when they donate, to help with visibility.”

“So we have lots of national charities, as well as regional, for some out of state fans,” said Farrell.

The National Center for Transgender Equality, Trans Lifeline, The Trevor Project, Lambda Legal and the Sylvia Rivera Project are among the dozen worthy causes already listed.

Outsports reached out to the Rockies and Bean for comment Sunday but did not receive a response by press time. Two of the charities listed by @BasesForPride contacted by Outsports said that while they haven’t seen any donations specifically identified as coming from this effort, it might not be traceable unless fans mention “Bases For Pride” or “Daniel Murphy” when they make their donation. Plus, as Rex Fuller of LGBTQ Colorado told Outsports: “It’s also pretty early in the season.” But they’re aware of the effort, and now, so are you.

To find out more or to make your pledge to either @BasesForPride or @queerfancystats, DM them on Twitter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated to give credit to Jenn Rubenstein to first connecting Daniel Murphy’s performance to donations for the LGBTQ community, and to Mel magazine freelance writer Jordan Ryan Pedersen for first reporting their efforts. We further corrected the date Jenn Rubenstein started their pioneering work, and corrected two instances in which we used the improper pronouns for Mx. Rubenstein; they use “they/them/their.” We regret those errors.