Tampa Bay's Yandy Diaz wears a Pride armband against Baltimore on June 8. | Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Dearly beloved, welcome back to Talkin’ Gaysball where we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life…

Something interesting happened on Rays’ Pride Day.

Chances are if you think about the Tampa Bay Rays and Pride, you immediately picture homophobic relief pitchers ripping rainbow logos off their jerseys and the team’s celebration turning into a rainbow faceplant.

In the wake of that fiasco, Rob Manfred issued guidance to the rest of MLB that teams other than the Giants and Dodgers would not be allowed to change their uniforms to celebrate Pride.

Because Pride logos are all about baseball and fun — the two things that Manfred loathes most.

Since word of his edict leaked, outside of San Francisco or Los Angeles, it’s turned out that the place you’re most likely to find players showing allyship on the field was Tampa Bay.

Over the past two years, Rays Pride has been noteworthy for a few of their players choosing to a rainbow to their gameday look — entirely of their own volition, no less.

Last year, for instance, Yandy Díaz played Pride Night while wearing a rainbow sweatband over his arm. Then he brought the look back for 2024.

A rainbow logo on the stadium wall during a baseball game
The Rays have displayed a rainbow suburst logo on the walls of Tropicana Field during Pride Day and throughout all of June. | Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

And if you’ve ever taken a look at Díaz’s arms, you quickly realize that this might set a new record for the biggest rainbow in Florida history.

Díaz had company this year as one-time Rookie of the Year and ALCS MVP Randy Arozarena joined Díaz in showing his LGBTQ support on the field, albeit during batting practice by wearing a Pride shirt.

Honestly, if the Rays wanted to make Arozarena’s Pride shirt into their full-time City Connect uniforms, they’d have my full endorsement.

That kind of approval from two of Tampa’s most prominent players was already uplifting. Then later in the day, pitcher Taj Bradley took the mound in a pair of the most amazing cleats I’ve seen all year…

To my knowledge, that’s the first time a Major League Baseball player has worn rainbow cleats during a Pride game since Sean Doolittle.

It set a new standard for visible LGBTQ support and Bradley deserves all the flowers in the world for it. Especially because in the modern game, players use their cleats designs to express their individuality and causes that are important to them.

Bradley has only been in the game for a little over two years and his allyship is already at a Hall of Fame level. 

This is not to say that the Rays are now perfect allies and we’re all good going forward. After all, Jason Adam was the ringleader of the anti-rainbow squad and he’s still on the roster.

Nonetheless, they’ve made some genuine strides in a short amount of time. Now our community is even being celebrated on the Rays pitching staff — an upset almost as big as seeing a rainbow inside a dome.

Read This Next

Pride Month is also a time for LGBTQ people throughout the baseball universe to contemplate the game and its relationship to our queerness. 

At Red Sox blog Over the Monster, contributing writer Matthew Gross put together an utterly compelling reflection on how his Sox and Colorado Rockies fandom was an island of much-needed relief during his long and mentally grueling time in the closet.

Gross is open and honest about the depths of his depression as he spent years fighting an internal battle while refusing to accept his sexuality. (Content warning: His essay discusses suicidal ideation.)

He also analyzes how he used his baseball obsession to distract himself and others from the queer parts of himself that he was trying to keep hidden. As someone who didn’t come out until age 34, dear reader, that hit home with your friendly neighborhood gay baseball columnist.

All of this makes Gross an incredibly sympathetic figure. His ultimate embrace of his gayness and learning to fuse it with his baseball fandom is an emotional triumph. This story is a must read and I highly recommend checking it out.

MLB Thirst Trap of the Week

Twins shortstop Carlos Correa missed half of the season’s first month with an injury — which is OK because in Minnesota, sometimes it snows in April. But over the past 17 days, he has become the partyman of the Twins lineup. 

While fans complained about his contract during an injury marred 2023, his performance this season has emphasized that money don’t matter 2night. Whether he plays in the sunshine or if  his performance shows it’s gonna be a beautiful night, Twins Territory truly adores him. 

Yesterday during “Prince Night” at Target, it was the dream we all dream of: Correa vs. a baseball in the World Series of love. After homering into the second deck, Correa unveiled the Twins’ new home run celebration and it was one of the beautiful ones:

My name is Carlos. And I am funky.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

This is almost perfect but we have one suggestion when Correa hits home run No. 7: bring back Prince’s pants from the MTV Video Music Awards.