KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals hosted their first ever “Pride Night” on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.
That would appear to make them the last team in Major League Baseball to host such an event, based on reports and a check of other clubs promotional schedules.
LGBTQ fans started holding a tailgate five years ago they called “Out with the Royals.”
“Over the years they’ve been saying, ‘Can we do something else? Can we do something inside the stadium?'” Royals spokesman Toby Cook said.
The Royals became the 28th team to hold “Pride Night” or a similar event at their ballpark this season.
The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, each who previously held events, opted not to this season, according to Outsports.
“I think the biggest statement would have been had we not taken this step because other Major League ball clubs have almost done this, and you get to a point where not doing it is a statement in and of its self,” Cook said.
They launched a theme ticket where up to 2,000 fans could get Royals hats in rainbow colors. It ended up being a sell out theme ticket.
“I think it’s very important to have the support come from the team just for the whole city to get everybody behind us,” Jenn Wilson said.
Scott Switzer with Kansas City 2019 Gay Softball World Series threw out the first pitch.
He said they asked the Royals not to have the special night during Pride Month so it could be scheduled around the event, drawing 5,000 LGBTQ athletes from around the nation to Kansas City.
The Heartland Men’s Chorus sang the National Anthem.
“It’s a great thing for Kansas City and the gay and lesbian community,” said Dudley Hogue, a chorus member.
Five dollars from every ticket goes to the AIDS Service Foundation.
“There are 5,700 people living in our city with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, so we are focusing on prevention education treatment and awareness,” AIDS Service Foundation Board President Eric Thomas said.
The Royals said unlike when the St. Louis Cardinals first had their Pride Night in 2017, negative reaction has been minimal.
“We don’t know if we waited just long enough that’s it not really an issue anymore, but at least it’s happening here in the ballpark,” Cook said.