That didn’t take long.
As Alex Reimer predicted when the Dodgers announced that they’d reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to their Pride Night, the right wing has taken this L as well as George Brett took being called out for too much pine tar.
The latest salvo in the ongoing temper tantrum against our national pastime came from Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who appeared to be gunning for a Purple Heart for hurt fee fees.
Newsmax's Greg Kelly: "There's nothing gay about baseball" pic.twitter.com/YXHCn9mn2P— Jason S. Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) May 24, 2023
During what appeared to be a series of unfocused complaints on Greg Kelly Reports, the host began his rant with a broad declaration that “There’s nothing less sexually oriented than baseball.” That would come as news to any child from the massive surge of babies born nine months after the Cubs won the World Series.
He then followed with a laundry list of clichéd and boilerplate grievances about the game, opining, “I used to like baseball. It’s totally boring. It takes way too long. I know they changed the rules, it still stinks.”
Missing from his screed was the fact that in baseball the team that scores the most runs is declared the winner 100 percent of the time. So I could see why that would turn Kelly off.
Then Kelly got to the meat of his harangue against baseball.
“I want nothing to do with it anymore. And even less since since they have LGBTQ Night at Dodger Stadium and ballparks all over the place, right? The rainbow flag, bring out the rainbow flag. There’s nothing gay about baseball! There’s nothing straight about baseball! There’s plenty that’s boring about baseball, OK?!”
There it was: the whole reason for this tirade in the first place and “there’s nothing gay about baseball” was exactly what we expected.
Glenn Burke, Billy Bean, and TJ House were but a simple Google search away. Of course, in writing that sentence, I realize I’m making the assumption that “Newsmax anchor” and “research” would ever appear in the same sentence so…my bad, I guess.
After that, maybe someone could’ve pointed out to Kelly that last year, the Dodgers sold over 18,000 ticket packages for Pride Night. Or called his attention to the one Pride Night we’ve had in 2023 where the Padres sold out of commemorative cap ticket bundles—going up against the Drag Race grand finale, no less!
As it turns out, there’s a lot that’s gay about baseball. You can see it everywhere you look and it’s beautiful.
Kelly’s nonsense is a typical example of how right wing media’s perpetual outrage machine preys on its audience’s emotions. When a sport like baseball transgresses against Newmax’s orthodoxy by celebrating The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and denying anti-gay bigots a victory, media figures like Kelly go into attack mode and command their audience to turn the full focus of their hatred against the game.
Once he and his colleagues repeat this order enough times, it becomes a choice: their viewers can either have their favorite sport or the media voices who reinforce their reactionary worldview. It’s a cynical power play, and its effect is quite sad.
The only surprising thing about Kelly’s screed was that he neglected to declare MLB “too woke.” Which is why he’ll never get called up to Fox News.
Here’s the reality: for a sport that Kelly has dismissed as “totally boring,” MLB’s TV and streaming ratings are up in 2023. And for the games over May 19-21, MLB experienced its best spring attendance weekend since 2017.
Once again, though…those are facts and research.
This won’t be the last attack on baseball and Dodgers Pride Night we hear from pundits like Kelly. While it’s important to celebrate when the forces of good triumph and LGBTQ activists get a win, it also means that we’ll be forced to listen to incessant whining from purveyors of outrage day after day after day when they don’t get their way.
In 2023, baseball is as gay and vibrant as it’s ever been. Thankfully, so is schadenfreude.