"It's another example that we understand what a great privilege it is to be as inclusive and accepting as possible," said Billy Bean, MLB's vice president and special assistant to the Commissioner. "So every fan that may have loved baseball for 100 years, or are just being exposed to it, sees that. It's important that we send a message that everyone feels welcome to come to a game."
The inaugural event reached its capacity at 2,000, and the package included a ticket to the game against the Mariners and a special O's pride cap. A portion of the ticket proceeds benefitted Moveable Feast, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides nutritious foods and other services to preserve quality of life for people with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions. The VIP roof-deck party, attended by Bean and retired Major League umpire Dale Scott, also sold out.
"Baseball in general, when you look at how far we've come -- I started 1986 in the big leagues, and we've come a long way since then," said Scott, who is gay and retired last year after more than 30 years in baseball. "It's important to show the community in Baltimore, and the baseball community in general, that everyone is welcome and everyone is included. We are inclusive. Come out and have a fun time and be who you are. Enjoy yourself. I am honored to be here for their first one. I just think it's great."
Scott, who threw out the first pitch for the Dodgers earlier this month, was also part of the MLB Pride float this past Sunday in New York. He was tabbed for the ceremonial first pitch again on Wednesday, joking, "I figured if I threw a good one, great. If I didn't, that's why I umpired."
In the end, Scott had nothing to worry about. And nights like Wednesday help ensure that every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender fan who comes to Camden Yards won't, either.
"My job is to promote acceptance throughout the sport," said Bean, who is a senior advisor on human rights issues, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts.
"My personal story is connected to it, of course, LGBT. But I've spoken to the Orioles big leaguers and Minor Leaguers in Spring Training. They have a great history of wanting to explain the message of inclusion. I'm sure proud of the organization to do something as generous as this for their fans."