The umpires in Saturday’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants wore baseball caps with a rainbow-colored Pride patch on the front. It’s believed to be the first time in American men’s pro sports that game officials’ official uniforms included a nod to LGBTQ Pride; And it may be a first beyond that.
The game was the Giants’ official Pride Day. To honor the day the two teams also made history, as every player from both teams also wore a cap with the team’s logo in rainbow colors.
The caps worn by the umpires were produced by New Era for MLB. They are black with the MLB logo in rainbow colors.
Making the gesture from the umpires particularly special, former MLB umpire Dale Scott was on hand to experience Pride Day and promote his new book, The Umpire Is Out. Scott came out publicly in 2014 while he was still working in baseball.
“It was surreal, having the crew wearing Pride hats and thinking how far we’ve come,” Scott told Outsports. “For me personally, thinking how I did everything I could to hide who I really was, to being on the field with the crew wearing those special hats...so proud!”
Also on hand was Dodgers executive Erik Braverman, who came out publicly in 2015 and who has, with Dodgers EVP Lon Rosen, spearheaded the most successful annual Pride event in all of pro sports.
The move by the umpires is particularly powerful given their role in sports. While some people point to ticket sales as a reason for clubs to encourage players to wear Pride gear, the umpires have no financial stake. They reportedly chose to wear the Pride hats simply as a gesture of good will for the LGBTQ community, as well as support for their former colleague Scott.
Also, given the umpires’ job is to literally call balls and strikes and be the arbiters of a fair game, their wearing the Pride cap sends a distinct signal about the nonpartisan nature of the rainbow flag and supporting the LGBTQ community.
Almost every team in MLB now has an annual Pride event at the ballpark. The lone annual holdout remains the Texas Rangers.
Wearing a cap with a rainbow logo is in itself still rare; Recently the Tampa Bay Rays joined the Dodgers and Giants in doing so, leading to a split amongst players and a national conversation about supporting Pride. The Rays and the Giants were the only two MLB teams to sign a 2015 amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage; In 2019 they were also the only two teams to petition the Supreme Court for LGBTQ equality in the workplace.