A famous US baseball team that had once traded a player to another team because he refused to marry a woman, will later this month allow two gay men to marry in the middle of their pitching mount, repairing the sports fractured relationship with the LGBTQ community.
LA Dodgers senior vice president Erik Braverman, 51, will marry his fiance Jonathan Cottrell, 31, in the middle of Dodger Stadium in front of about 80 family members and close friends.
The special place was chosen after it became a major part of Braverman’s life after working for the organisation since 2008. In 2015 he came out publicly which was the first sign of an organisation that had started to change its ways.
By doing so he became one of sport’s highest-ranking officials to publicly come out as gay.
“I’ve always prided myself in being the guy behind the scenes, I never wanted to be the spotlight kind of guy, and in talking to Lon Rosen, [Dodgers’ executive vice president/chief marketing officer] and Stan Kasten [club president], I asked them, ‘What does it serve me to come out, why would I do this?’” recalled Braverman to the LA Times.
“They said it isn’t for you, it’s for everyone.”
“I approached Lon and said, ‘I want this for my wedding, but does this seem selfish?’”
Rosen’s response struck at the heart of a Dodgers front-office culture that has emphasized inclusiveness.
“I think it would be perfect,” Rosen told him.
“Getting married in front of anybody takes guts, but to do it at the cathedral at Chavez Ravine?” said Billy Bean, a gay former Dodger who is an MLB vice president and special assistant to the commissioner.
“This is a transparent example of the environment Dodger ownership has created for the people who work there. This doesn’t happen at every stadium.”
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In 1978 the Dodgers traded gay outfielder Glenn Burke to Oakland because he allegedly refused then-general manager Al Campanis’ monetary offer to marry a woman.
In 2000 the team ejected Danielle Goldey and Meredith Kott from a game because they were kissing in the stands. The organisation later apologized and donated 5,000 tickets to gay rights groups, but the damage had been done.
The Guggenheim ownership group purchased the team in 2012 and have since worked very hard in repairing the relationship with the rainbow community.
“There were things that happened in the history of the Dodgers, and we wanted to make sure the LGBTQ community knew we embraced them and embraced all communities,” said Rosen. “I mean, these are our fans.”
Guggenheim created their first Pride Night in September 2013 and even though several Dodgers players grumbled and protested at the time, the annual event has now turned into a wild party night.
“It’s the biggest, most robust Pride Night in all of professional sports, period. Nothing comes close,” said Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com.
“There is no team in professional sports that is more welcoming or embraces the community on a year-round basis more than the Dodgers.”
Two of their co-owners are Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, who are married. They also embrace co-owner Magic Johnson’s son EJ, a television personality who has come out as gay.
“None of this is a surprise,” said Zeigler. “It’s just all part of the Dodgers legacy.”
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The vows for Braverman and Cottrell will be made on the pitcher’s mound. Their names will be emblazoned on the videoboards. The guests will be seated on the field around them. The reception will be in the bar in the left-field pavilion. Some music will be played by organist Dieter Ruehle.
Guests will receive a bobblehead doll featuring the couple holding hands and the guests are encouraged to wear a hint of blue. There will also be the famous Dodger Dogs.
“You can’t have an event at Dodger Stadium without Dodger Dogs, can you?” said Braverman.
The ceremony will end with the sounds of “I Love L.A.”. The Dodgers play that song after every win.
Last Updated on Jan 8, 2022