When D’Arcy Drollinger took to the mound to throw out the first pitch in San Francisco for the Giants-Chicago Cubs game on Saturday, she made the most of the moment.
Drollinger, the first “drag laureate” in the country, danced around the mound, bowed to the fans — many wearing giveaway Pride jerseys — and did what every Major League Baseball pitcher has done by shaking off signs from the catcher. She violated the new pitch count by 45 seconds, but no one cared.
The “Drag Laureate of San Francisco”, D’Arcy Drollinger, shook off a couple signs before throwing out the first pitch pic.twitter.com/OI1KckYr17— KNBR (@KNBR) June 10, 2023
Drollinger’s appearance at Giants Pride Night was not the only one by a drag performer in the last week. During the Los Angels Angels’ Pride Night, Paige Matthews walked the game ball to the mound before the start.
Matthews’ moment — with her dressed in full drag makeup, long painted red acrylics, one with a baseball painted on and wearing a custom Angels uniform — was about as normal as that of any other fan invited to deliver the game ball. No cheers, no jeers. Just another baseball fan doing something many baseball fans would want to do.
Until 2019, the Angels had never held a Pride Night. Just four years later, they had a drag performer as part of the ceremony that also included the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, in attendance as fans at the invite of Anaheim’s mayor.
When Orange County Pride asked the Angels if Matthews could be part of Pride Night, they were stunned by the positive response.
“[Angels President John Carpino] was the first to say, ‘Even though we haven’t done this before, if this is something Orange County Pride feels like this is what will represent your organization, then you have our support,’” OC Pride board member Angel Bonilla told the L.A. Times.
OC Pride vice president Manny Muro said the Angels never asked them to tone down the festivities, a reference to the problems the Dodgers had when the invited the Sisters, disinvited them and then reinvited them.
The decisions by the Giants and Angels to include drag performers at their Pride Nights at a time when drag is under attack by anti-gay bigots across the country is a welcome ray of light. As Matthews said upon getting the invite: “I kind of lost faith for a little bit. ... [The call] reignited the spark in me. Like ‘OK, there is hope in this society.’”