Can You Feel The Love Tonight? Pride Night at The Trop.

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As many people are aware, last night was a special night at Tropicana Field. It was Pride Night in the wake of the Pulse massacre in which 50 LGBT people were murdered last week. All the ticket proceeds were going to the victims, and the Rays were holding a blood drive as well as using the 50/50 Raffle to raise funds. While the outcome of the game was disappointing–the Rays lost 5-1 and Chris Archer continues his struggles on the mound–the game itself was secondary to the joy and good will that permeated the stadium. Everywhere people where smiling, hugging, laughing, and waving the little rainbow flags that the Rays gave away. It felt like the most laid back playoff game you have ever attended. You could really feel the love. I know how corny this sounds, trust me. I’m originally from the Bronx.

Normally I’d choke on a cucumber before listening to a song like this, but really, this is what it felt like:

I am so torn between knowing how sappy this is, and sincerely trying to communicate the emotion in that stadium. I guess it’s okay to be sappy sometimes.

It felt like the stadium had a heartbeat. It pulsed. The colors, so vibrant. Everywhere people were high fiving, saying hello, and smiling. Giants fans, Rays fans. We were all there for one common cause: to show love and support to a community that for too long has felt like outsiders, unwanted merely for being who they are. No more. We are all in this together. Tolerance? No. We tolerate things that bother us. Love, accept, nurture, as we should everyone. To have Major League Baseball, which traditionally has been a very conservative sport, open its arms so lovingly to EVERYONE–I thought I was going to burst with joy and pride. My sport that I love so much. Thank you.

Last Saturday, you saw humanity at its worst. Yesterday, I saw humanity at its best. Fans raised $300,000 for victims. They were lined up to donate blood. I am telling you, it was like something out of a movie. Just this positive vibe permeating everything. No hate, just love.

Early in the day, I realized I had a surplus of tickets. I could not in good conscience sell them on stubhub. I had to give them away. I went on Facebook on the Rays page for people going to the game. I saw one person looking for two tickets. Her photo said, “My God Loves Everyone.” I responded to her, “I like your God. This is a legitimate offer, I have 2 extra tickets. They are yours.” I left my phone number for her to text. We coordinated meeting at Ferg’s later. It turns out they were this drop dead gorgeous engaged lesbian couple. They bought me a drink that far exceeded the cost of the tickets. I didn’t drink much of it, but I appreciated the gesture. They were amazing; we have plans to go to another game together.

The National Anthem was sung with the Stars and Stripes surrounded by two Rainbow Flags at its side. “O’er the LandĀ  of the Free…” The Free to love whomever you want, to be whomever and “The Home of the Brave.” The Brave Ones who stand up and say so no more. The past is not acceptable. We can do better.

Sung by Una Voce, the Florida Men’s Chorale

Here is a picture taken of my friends and I as we were leaving the stadium. When I got home and saw it on my laptop, it took my breath away. Every color and nationality is represented in this picture: White, black, Asian, Native American, name it. Every person in this picture is a mutt; we are America. The glow behind us of Tropicana Field looked like heaven. Probably because most of it is obscured, I have never seen the Trop look so beautiful.

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The sun beckons. This is Florida. I am going to enjoy the morning with my children. Go hug someone. Hug yourself if you can’t find anyone. Be nice to each other.

Happy Saturday. May your team win. Except the Red Sox.

I picked a really bad time to stop drinking whiskey.

 

We Are Orlando. We are the Rays.

imageI have neglected my little blog for awhile. I can’t say I will publish every day. That is too much pressure and I have a lot I need to do. I am a registered nurse who works full time. I have two children and two pets. I am undergoing a divorce, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I write this as I work-out on an elliptical.

Tonight, there is an important event in St. Petersburg, Florida occurring at Tropicana Field: Pride Night. St. Petersburg has a small but vibrant gay community. When I lived in a community of beautiful old majestic bungalows and cobblestone streets a stones throw from Tropicana Field named Historic Kenwood, my ex and I were the token straights on the block. My friend said she felt she was visiting “flat San Francisco.” She also added, you would love San Fran. Noted.

Yes, other teams have had their pride nights. None have had their Pride Nights 90 minutes away from the greatest massacre on United States soil where 50 young lesbian, gay, transgendered, and bisexual people were murdered and 53 were hurt for simply being who they are. Take it in: 103 people. Soak it in. To add insult to injury, these people were mostly brown, Latinos, the face that stares back at me every morning, the face of my children, my family. To add further fuel to this fire, the assailant who shall not be named here used a semi-automatic weapon. He was known to be a danger to society, a domestic abuser and on terror watch lists, yet Republicans decided that there should be no limits on gun rights and this monster should have access legally to a weapon that can do this.

I was told I should not see politics in a game like this. I was told “ewww.” I cannot NOT see poltics. The Rays have rebranded themselves with the LGBT colors and have gone out of their way to make it known where they stand to everyone around the world. Not with a little fucking candle ceremony or a bullshit moment of silence. My moment of silence is done. I am ready to talk and talk a lot and you are never shutting me up until what happened at the Pulse never happens again. Until gay people have no reason to fear loving who they love. Until I have no reason to fear going to a movie theater because some asshole is going to shoot up the place. Until then. Hear my voice.

If you think baseball is not political, I truly lose some respect for your intellect and ability to think critically. I still like you, even love you, but I believe you to be either simple, or a blind fool in my deepest heart. You can fool yourself and lie to yourself all you like, but that is not me. I will always tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. The ugly truth too. Of course, you should not care what I think of you, just as I do not care what most peopleĀ think of me. There are a few select people whose opinion of me truly matters to me. I am not arrogant. When they talk and tell me–you are out of line. I listen. They know me and my heart.

You probably think I am an arrogant bitch for thinking this. I am an uppity opinionated woman who does not back down easily and that can upset some people. Sexism still lives and if you think it doesn’t, again, lie to yourself all you want.

I play nice but when you burn me, I will not take it. That is not me.

You got a woman who knows her worth and ain’t prepared to compromise it. You can’t treat me that way. Maybe it’s just some shit we blew into space, but if you meant it, it’s too late.

I will be at the game tonight, which promises to be a special event. The Rays are playing the San Francisco Giants, a team whose city has a rich LGBT history. All sorts of festivities are planned. I will be there early to take it all in, take pictures, and report back here tomorrow. Archer will be pitching for the Rays. He has struggled this season, however most of his issues lie in the first inning. If he can survive the first unscathed, we’ve got ourselves game. Samardzija is pitching for the Giants, and he is always a formidable force. The Rays have been red hot of late. It should be fantastic. This is the game to watch tonight. The biggest party in baseball tonight. And those who can’t appreciate it? Their loss.

Everything the Rays are doing tonight:

  • The Rays are donating 100 percent of the proceeds from tickets sold since Tuesday as well as from the 50-50 raffle to help victims’ families and will have donation centers around the Trop (also at gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund).
  • There also will be a blood drive (starting at 4 p.m.) with donors getting a voucher for two tickets to any future 2016 game.
  • There will be a moment of silence with the victims’ names scrolled across the video board
  • The national anthem and God Bless America will be performed by Una Voce, the Florida Men’s Chorale.
  • All fans will receive a “We Are Orlando” T-shirt
  • MLB VP of Social Responsibility Billy Bean will throw out the first pitch
  • Commissioner Rob Manfred will provide a videoboard message.

The game is a sell-out. When that ugly dome sells out, it rocks.