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First pitch honor on Pride Night at ballpark goes to... Sean Spicer?

Former White House press secretary to President Trump Sean Spicer threw out the first pitch at Friday night’s Pawtucket Red Sox Pride Night game in Rhode Island.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer Holds Daily Press Briefing At White House
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer seen during what used to be the Daily Press Briefing at the White House on June 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. 
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Pawtucket Red Sox are taking some heat on social media after inviting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer to toss the first pitch Friday night, the very evening the Rhode Island minor league team celebrated “Pride Night at the Ballpark.”

Reports by the Associated Press and the Boston Globe noted Spicer is a Rhode Island native who joined a disabled veteran, Carlos Lopes, in throwing out the ceremonial pitch.

Longreads sports columnist Britni de la Cretaz tweeted to her 13.5K followers: “What an insult to all their queer fans.” That’s in reference to the Trump administration’s record in relation to the LGBTQ community, as reported by the Washington Blade, Buzzfeed and The New York Times.

Others called it “tone-deaf,” “a garbage move,” and asked why someone from the LGBTQ community wasn’t chosen for the honor. Another criticized the Paw Sox for choosing to have a veteran join Spicer.

Before the game, Spicer presented Lopes, a Rhode Islander wounded during his service with the U.S. Marines in Iraq in 2005, with an all-terrain wheelchair from The Independence Fund. Spicer is member of the board of directors of the charity, which has donated more than 2,300 of these types of wheelchairs.

UPDATE: A PawSox spokesperson told Outsports they won’t be issuing any official statement in response to online criticism that the team insulted LGBTQ fans by honoring Spicer and Lopes on the same night dedicated to celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. The spokesperson said Pride Night at the Ballpark was scheduled far in advance and Friday happened to be the only night the veterans group was available. The team was very proud to have honored both LGBTQ fans and the Independence Fund, the spokesperson said.

Spicer made no mention of Pride Night in his own social media post.

The Paw Sox are the Triple A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and currently in last place in the International League North. On Friday they played the Charlotte Knights, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, and won, 4-3.